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The Top 8 Things I Love About Cross-Stitch

Hi Everyone

I really love cross stitch! What helps at the moment is that I’m recovering from a cold that’s kept me mostly home bound for the best part of a week. Resulting in a bucket load of cross-stitch getting done and not much else!

So without further adieu, here are my top 8 of things I love about cross-stitch:

8. The Internet and Techie Devices

The Internet is a wonderful thing and I love having the option of accessing it through a variety of techie devices. I love that the Internet has enabled a lot of us to connect with each other via Flosstube, Facebook and other groups to form cross stitch communities and share with each other our starts, progresses and finishes. I also love being able to search for a variety of ideas on what to stitch next and any tools of the trade that may help me to finish a project or make it pop!

7. Mobility – Being able to stitch anywhere, anytime

I love being able to take my cross stitch nearly anywhere to stitch. I would love to be able to stitch on a plane if there weren’t any security issues (in Australia we’re not allow to take scissors in our hand luggage, otherwise the scissors will be confiscated. I’m also aware that there are alternate options scissors on a plane. I just don’t want to risk it as I could see my needles or other aspects of my project being confiscated and I’d then be stuffed!) or problems with elbow room.

I do however, love knowing that I can move around the house and sit wherever I want to stitch. This can be applied to any destination I’ve travelled to, once I’m off the plane or whichever mode of transport I’ve taken. I’m happy as long as I have a comfy seat, good light and full charge on my earphones and phone so that I can have some background noise.

6. Fabric

I love that there is so much variety when it comes to fabric and that the possibilities are endless. I love that we can get fabric ranging from Aida to Linen to Evenweave and that it comes in so many different colours. Below is just an example of the variety of options out there…

Fabric I purchased earlier this year from Victoria House Needlecraft

5. Threads. Skeins. Silks. Floss.

When I first started stitching, I thought that the only thread option was DMC cotton or what was supplied via the kits. Based on what I’ve seen via Flosstube, I can’t wait to try the silks and other brands that other stitchers have talked about.

Meanwhile, I love the colours available within the DMC range at least. As much as I might grumble at the time, metallic threads have their place in the world of cross-stitch! I love the texture and sparkle they bring to a project. I’m also really keen to use more of the variegated threads in a project and the life it can bring to the finished piece.

4. Seeing the project come to life

I don’t know about you, but I usually pick a pattern for a reason and when I see that project coming to life, it makes me smile because I’m creating the way that it’s been intended and it reassures me that I’m on the right track. If I’m stitching it for a family member or friend and I know they’re going to love it, that spurs me on even more, just thinking about how they’ll react when they see the finished piece.

Then there’s the special stitches, backstitch and embellishments that really make the piece. Sometimes I’ve contemplated not backstitching because of how much there is. Seeing the finished picture and how much the backstitch enhances the work I’ve put into the project makes it all worthwhile. Also, I believe that the designer wouldn’t have put the backstitch in there if they didn’t think that it wouldn’t make a difference!

3. Tools of the Trade

I love needle minders and I wish I had come across them sooner! Also, I can’t get enough of the hoops. They are a necessity for me to cross-stitch. I’ve tried stitching without a hoop and whilst the project turned out okay, it just didn’t seem right to stitch without it.

2. The variety of options. The endless possibilities

Like the patterns, I love that there are so many different options and possibilities to finish a project. Pillows, biscornus, cards, framing, banners and pin cushions to name a few! As nervous as I am to try something other than framing a project, I’m also keen to see how cool it could look!

1. Starting something new

I love the excitement of deciding on what to stitch next. I love looking through the various kits, patterns and magazines in my collection and searching the Net. I also love that there are endless possibilities to what we can stitch and what we use to create that finished piece. Currently I’m starting to think about Christmas and the possibility of cards and decorations I could make. However, we do have Halloween just around the corner and I do love my horror/thriller movies and tv shows…

What are your favourite things about cross-stitch?

Until next time, happy stitching!

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A to Z of Cross Stitch

How much has changed?

It’s been 10 years since the Cross Stitch Crazy magazine has released their 120th issue with the article titled A-Z of Stitching pages 42 to 44. Which got me thinking about how much cross stitch has or hasn’t changed over the last 10 years at least. This is my take on the A to Z of Cross Stitch…

A Aida, Apps and Anchor threads, Accessories, Acronyms and Anchor patterns. Without them we wouldn’t have such awesome and amazing projects to share with everyone.

B Backstitch, Biscornus and Blogs. Backstitch can make the world of difference to a picture. Providing an added element of detail that other stitches are unable to provide. Biscornus (aka fancy pin cushions) are beautiful. And blogs about all things cross stitch, are a modern way for all of us to share and read about the different things we’re up to and learn a few tips and tricks along the way!

C Charms, Cross-Country stitching, Confetti Stitches, Craft Fairs, Country Threads, Counting and Community. **deep breath** So many C’s! Aside from backstitch, charms are another way to embellish your project and a non-stitchy element to your project. Via our communities, we can learn about we can deal with confetti stitches, when the next craft fair is on and the importance of counting for any project while we share some of the Country Thread patterns we’ve stitched. Meanwhile, cross country cross stitching is just one of the many ways in which you can stitch your project as shown in Pam’s Crafty Corner clip below.

D DIY and Digital Patterns, DMC Threads and Dimensions cross stitch kits. In recent years, we have seen an increase in the promotion of making your own patterns and the use of digital born patterns. Both of which have been aided by the IT devices we use and the necessity of the Internet. Meanwhile, DMC threads are the most commonly/frequently used threads on many commercial patterns and personal choice by many stitchers. Lastly, I love Dimensions kits because of the beautiful patterns they make and the challenge of blended threads – e.g. one strand of red with two strands of orange – that create shades and highlight areas of a project that could not be otherwise achieved.

E for Evenweave and Embracing the messy back of your work. Evenweave was also part of the Crazy Cross Stitch’s A-Z and necessary to include it here. It can be difficult to stitch on, but the affects of it can be amazing! All the while embracing the messy back of your work and remembering that how the back of your work wont matter if you have it framed…

F for Frogging, FFO’s (Framed Finished Objects) or Finished Objects. Unpicking unfortunately is a necessary evil of our craft at times. However, celebrating our framed finished objects or finished objects can be rewarding

G Get Moving. Our craft means that we sit still for long periods of time. We need to take care of our selves to ensure we can continue stitching for decades to come. How you move is up to you. I run when I can and regularly go to the gym and train with an awesome group of people and trained by two awesome trainers. The trainers and the people I train with are supportive and bring a high level of positive energy and fun to the sessions. I strongly encourage you all to find a way of moving and keeping fit and healthy that works for you and your lifestyle.

H Hoops and Heaven and Earth Designs (HAED). Hoops are just one of the ways in which we can keep tension on our WIPs such as our HAEDs. Additionally, hoops have been used as an alternate way to framing our finished objects. Peacock and Fig in their clip below provide a great tutorial on how to use hoops to frame your finished projects.

A unique way of framing your projects – published on 26 September 2016

Meanwhile, how can I not mention HAED! In my mind at least, their team of designers and artists create some of the most beautiful and intense patterns on the market. And for many people I’ve spoken with, blogs I’ve read and YouTube clips I’ve watched, they all aspire to work on a HAED one day or they have completed one or are working on at least one.

I Internet. A necessity in today’s modern world. I love that it enables us to share so many different things with each other. Which in turn means that we have information at our fingertips and it is so much easier to see and speak with someone who is in a different time zone. Let alone be part of the world when we may not always be able to physically step out into it.

J Join a club. The Cross Stitch Crazy magazine suggests this back in 2009 and it’s still very much relevant today. It can be an official club or a social/unofficial one that you have with your friends who share an interest in hand crafts. The Internet has assisted this with widening the size of the group and the areas in which their members live. Additionally, attending face-to-face club meetings or social gatherings (where possible) is vital for everyone’s health and well-being.

K Kits and Knots (not always the good kind). Whether you kit up a project yourself or purchase one, having all of your tools together for a project your working on makes life so much easier. You can just pick up the bag you have your project in and move it from one room to another or wherever you want to work on the project. Meanwhile, knots can be a good and bad thing. It just depends on what your intention is! The good kind would be French Knots and similar ones that are used to enhance a project. They are the kind of knots we want people to see. The bad kind are ones at the back of our projects when our threads have gotten twisted and tangled up.

L Lighting and the loop method. Lighting is so important to all of us – especially when we’re working on our projects. Meanwhile, I love the loop method as a way of starting off on a new colour on a project I’m working on when I’m stitching two over one. The clip below by Needlepointers shows how the loop method is used.

Published on YouTube on 10 February 2014

M Mill Hill Seed Beads, Magnifiers and Metallic Threads. Many years ago I stitch a fairy garden picture for my Mum and it had a lot of metallic threads and seed beads in it. Throughout the entire time I was stitching it, I was cursing the seed beads and the metallic threads because the beads kept going everywhere and I wasn’t use to stitching with metallic threads. The good thing is that it turned out to be a beautiful picture. Below is a sample of the Garden Fairy project I worked on…

Page 7 of the Cross Stitch Fairies book – Design by Joan Elliott – (C) 2005

Meanwhile, magnifiers are a wonderful tool to have in your stash. Especially if you are working on intense projects (e.g. a HAED or project on small count/linen) or you feel that your eye sight isn’t what it use to be or it’s the end of the day and you’re feeling a bit tired.

N Needle Minders/Needle Nannies, Needles and New projects. I love starting new projects because they’re a clean slate and it’s the excitement of starting something new. I have also fallen in love with needle minders and I wish I had come across them sooner. I received my first needle minder as a birthday gift in 2018 and purchased some more this year at the Canberra Craft Alive Fair. Meanwhile, how can I not talk about needles! Their size will always have an impact on how our projects look and potentially how many times we swear if we use sharp needles and have a tendency to poke ourselves with them! But we wouldn’t be able to do our craft without them and the clip below by Penguin and Fish provides us with an insight to the difference between embroidery and cross stitch needles…

O Online shopping, Ooos and aahs and Organisation. The Cross Stitch Crazy magazine highlighted the importance of being organised and it’s still important now. The awesome thing is that many people have written about the ways they have organised their craft rooms and how they organise their threads generally speaking and for their projects. Ultimately, organise your space and projects in a way that works for you. That way you can be sure to receive the ‘oooos and aaaahs’ you deserve when you share your WIPs and finishes with everyone! Meanwhile, I love online shopping. Especially if I’m unable to make to the shops or they don’t have what I need and what I need is only available interstate or overseas.

P Preservation, PDF patterns and Pinterest. I have an addition to Pinterest. I could spend hours and hours scrolling to the various pins and searching for inspiration for craft and fitness. Which has enabled me to fall in love with some patterns that are available as PDFs and I’ve purchased through an Etsy shop. Which has me contemplating how I’m going to preserve the digital and physical patterns I have and the longevity of projects I’ve finished…

Q Quick gifts and Q snaps. The Cross Stitch Crazy magazine loves quick gifts as their Q item and their magazine for years has provided us with beautiful and amazing patterns that we can stitch and have completed within a day through to a week. Meanwhile, I’ve recently been made aware of Q snaps as an alternate to the hoops we can use while we’re working on our projects.

R Resizing a pattern. Sometimes we can come across a pattern we love, but the recommended count size may be too big or too small. Pam Anderson on The Spruce Crafts blog has recently written about how you can adjust the size of pattern and fabric count in accordance with your preferences.

S Scissors, storage and stitch-all-the-things. At times I get overwhelmed with all of the amazing and beautiful patterns out there and I want to stitch all of them at the same time. If I had the time, I could and if I had a very organised storage system. Like the letter ‘O’, the way you store your collection of threads, fabrics, patterns and tools, will have a huge impact on how you achieve the end result! Meanwhile, scissors are one of my most valued and important tools in my kit. I’d hate to think how my projects would look if I didn’t have any scissors!

T Take your time and Travel. One of the things I love about travelling by bus from Canberra to Sydney is that I can work on my cross stitch for about 3 hours. I’ve also gone on road trips with family and friends to Mittagong, Mogo and various craft stores around Canberra to get the supplies I need. Meanwhile, when you can, take your time and enjoy the project you’re working on. Try not to rush your project because it can result in the threads being pulled too tight and causing gaps and uneven crosses.

U Unique stitches and Unfinished Objects (UFO’s). What would cross stitch be without these two things? All stitches in embroidery/needlepoint could be considered unique because of their appearance and what they add to each project. One of the most special or unique stitches I’ve come across since I’ve been watching YouTube clips is called Jessica Stitches. The clip below shows how these stitches are done:

Clip by Needlepoint Now – Published on YouTube on 1 May 2015

To help put this unique stitch into context, a blog post from October 2017 by A Stitching Love Affair shows how they can really add to the project.

Meanwhile, for many of us stitchers, we can have quite a few UFO’s that we have the best of intentions of coming back to to work on. Then a new pattern catches our eye and it spirals from there!

V Variegated threads are beautiful – Cross Stitch Crazy loved them in 2009 and nothing has changed since then. Below is an image of what variegated threads look like and how they can look when used in cross stitch:

Variegated yarn on the left that I picked up from the Canberra Craft Alive Fair and the image on the right is from Peacock and Fig.

W Waste material that comes from us trimming our projects once we’ve completed them. In 2009 Cross Stitch Crazy they were fully supportive of reusing waste Aida and similar fabrics for other projects such as book marks, tags for gifts, cards and Christmas decorations to name a few. Then there’s the waste threads we have from our projects that we could use for the filling of pin cushions, pillows, Biscornu’s and similar projects.

X Could this be one of our favourite letters in the alphabet? Without the X what would our craft be called? Then there’s the X stitching websites, businesses and blogs such as The XStitching Runner!

Y Your stitching thoughts. It was relevant in Cross Stitch Crazy in 2009 and it is well and truly relevant in 2019. The internet has enabled all of us to share our thoughts and perspectives on cross stitch through social media and I for one is more than thankful for this ability!

Z Zombies, Run! This app is amazing for helping me getting up and moving and taking a break from stitching. You are Runner 5 and you are part of Able township. With the help of Sam and a team of runners, you are searching for a solution to the zombie apocalypse and saving any survivors.

Related posts and links:

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Nanna Naps, Running and Stitching

As I’m writing this post, I’m sitting outside enjoying the beautiful weather on Saturday 13th April 2019. All the while listening to Kitten Stitcher – Episode 42 and recovering from the 5km leg of the Australian Running Festival in Canberra I participated in this morning and trying not to fall asleep!

I ran the whole 5km, which normally isn’t a big deal for me. However, my training in the lead up to the event hasn’t been where I would have liked, and it’s a hillier event than other courses in Canberra. Also, the week leading up to today’s event I haven’t been sleeping very well and I’ve been playing catch-up with my hydration. On Monday I was silly enough to leave my drink bottle at home which holds 1.89 litres and I didn’t make the most of the opportunities available to me to drink more water.

Stitching wise, I’ve been rotating through three different projects. I’ve been really enjoying the Jingle Bells (my name for the project, not the official name) project because of how awesome it’s looking on the blue fabric and the colours in the pattern.

Jingle Bells work in progress as of 13 April 2019

I’ve swapped out a couple of colours – one intentionally, one unintentionally. I wanted to have a silvery/metallic look to key parts of the pattern to make things interesting and add a different element to the pattern.

Jingle Bells close up of silver metallic thread as of 13 April 2019

The other colour change was one of the blues in the blue bell because I didn’t have the colour recommended in the pattern, so I chose a different blue that I think works well. The image below shows with an arrow pointing to the blue I have used instead of the recommended blue.

Jingle Bells blue thread swap out as of 13 April 2019

I then get my cat fix with the four seasons pattern that’s been my off and on pic for the last few years. My aim is to get it finished by the end of this year.

Four Seasons Kittens – Gold Collection kit – Progress as of 13 April 2019

My challenge for this year/next few years is my first Heaven and Earth Design that I’m stitching for my sister. I’m stitching it one over one (one strand over one square) on 28 count fabric. Which means that the crosses are tiny.

Moon Lit Waters – Heaven and Earth Designs – Artwork by Julie Fain – progress as of 13 April 2019
This is what the picture should look like when I’m finished!

I started this picture about a year or two ago and then got back into it early February 2019. Two of my biggest challenges with this has been keeping track of where I’ve stitched on the fabric in comparison to the pattern and the confetti stitches. So far I’m lucky that the area I’m stitching in has a lot of similar colours, so it wont’ matter too much if I don’t use the same colour that is recommended on the pattern. As long as I don’t confuse myself too much when I move onto future pages!

So where to from here?

Running wise, I really need to fire up my interest and passion for it. A few years ago, I was regularly running 5km 3 to 4 times per week and I was seeing significant progress in my times to complete the distance. I need to fire up again so that I can feel a lot more prepared for future events – the next one being the Mother’s Day Classic.

Stitching wise, I really want to make the most of the fabric I’ve recently bought on a trip up to Mittagong and do those fabrics justice by choosing patterns that compliment them.

Fabric from Mittagong

All the while finishing the three patterns I’m working on that you’ve seen in this post!

Happy Stitching !