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What’s your Stitch-piration?

Hi Everyone

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.

For example, some of the Flosstube people I follow and watch regularly (Bendy Stitchy, Stitchin Mommy, Jessie Marie Does Stuff, are stitching some Heaven and Earth Designs (HAED’s) and making the most of the Pattern Keeper app to help them stitch. Which meant that I was inspired and motivated to get some stitches done on Moon Lit Waters. The images below are my progress:

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!

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Posted in WIP's and Plans

Anything Goes August Update

Hi Everyone

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.

September Plans

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.

Until next time,

Happy Stitching.

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Posted in WIP's and Plans

Cross stitch Progress and Plans for 2020

Hi Everyone

It’s been a while since I’ve done a stitchy update and I’ve made a tonne of progress since I’ve last posted an update. Some of the things that have significantly helped is in September 2019 I had some planned time off work and I ended up getting sick during those holidays. In hindsight, I believe that it was my body’s way of saying that I’d been under too much stress for so long that now I have the time to relax, my body was going to make sure I relaxed! It also meant that I was able to get a lot of stitching done and binge watch a huge amount of Gossip Girl, Netflix and Flosstube! Then in early to mid December 2019, I got sick for a few days because I’ve finally relaxed into my new job (it was around the three month mark of being in the new job that I got sick) and I got even more stitching done. With all of this stitching I was able to do – let alone years – I’ve given myself RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) – self diagnosed – in my right hand. Specifically the knuckle for my index finger that connects to my palm and some of the muscles around my wrist, palm and muscles for my middle finger.

The slight positive is that I purchased a number of months ago, some fingerless support gloves (see images below) that are intended for embroidery and similar work. I purchased the gloves from the Australian website Thread and Needle. If you’re in the market for some support gloves, I highly recommend them! I’ve started using them a lot more and they’re really helping at the moment. I will need to go and see a doctor or physiotherapist about it though, because I don’t want it to get worse.

Support Gloves – Medium size
Label for support gloves – Thergonomic Hand-Aids – medium size
Support glove worn on my left hand, palm down – there is a large hole to fit my third and fourth fingers comfortably in the same hole.
Support glove left hand, palm up

As you may have seen, I have pretty small hands. I’m about 151cm to 155cm tall – depending on the time of day I’m measured. In my opinion, my hands – fingers especially – are chubby, so I find the medium size to be really good. Additionally, they are light weight and I’ve found that it doesn’t matter which hand I put the gloves on, because I can flip them around and as long as my thumbs go through the designated hole, I’m okay! The cuffs are super supportive and I’ve found that I can stitch for a lot longer with the gloves now that my right hand becomes fatigued quicker than my left hand.

The other thing I’m surprised by with these gloves is how quickly I’ve become use to stitching with them! I’ve stitched a little bit without them and my right hand has been fine, but I’ve felt a bit naked without the gloves.

WIP’s

Moon Lit Waters Project

The increasing annoyance with this is I’ve got my mojo back for stitching the Moon Lit Waters (Heaven and Earth Design) project. It requires a finer needle to stitch the project because I’m stitching it on 25 count fabric. The good thing is that I have it in a hoop that’s being held in a stand.

Moonlit Waters – Progress as of 22 September 2019
Moon Lit Waters – Progress as of 11 January 2020
Cover image for Moon Lit Waters project.

Based on the cover image, I have started on the edge of the moon and I have a bucket load more to do! What I’m excited about is what the future pages of the pattern look like. There’s a little bit of confetti, but mostly solid blocks and I’m feeling really positive about making more progress through the year.

Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms – my own design

Before I got my mojo back for Moon Lit Waters, I was going great guns on the Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms. This is my own design that I’ve converted into a cross stitch pattern from a photo I took.

Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms – Copyright Kristen Gawronski – Photo converted to cross stitch pattern

The last time I wrote about this project was back on 24th June 2019 and below was the progress I had made…

Progress of Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms as of 24 June 2019
Progress of Gundraoo Mini Mushroom as of 11 January 2020

Since then, I’ve finished the first page and I’ve moved to the left and I’m about half way through the second page. Looking at it from a distance and especially looking at it through the lens of a camera, I’m really happy with how it’s coming out. Sometimes when I’m working on it, I start doubting myself and the decisions I’ve made with the picture and pattern. I’m mostly doubting myself about the size of the photo when I imported it to the PC Stitch 11 and the measurements I’ve entered into the system to enable it to develop the pattern. I’ve looked at other pictures that people are working on that are photos that’ve been converted to cross stitch and the cross stitch project looks awesome!

Four Seasons Kittens

I’ve made a little bit more progress with the winter kittens. They’re my go-to if I need a break from the HAED or my own design. The last time I’d written about these kittens was back on 25th October, 2019 and below was the progress I had made then. By memory I may have talked about some of the fudging I needed to do. If I didn’t mention it, I had to get a bit creative with the top left corner of the winter kittens.

Four Seasons Kittens by The Gold Collection, Dimensions – Progress as of 25 October 2019
A lot more of the kittens has been filled in. Their eyes and facial features are a bit more obvious. The background of the kittens has been filled in and some of the fauna to the right of the kittens has been stitched.
Four Seasons Kittens by The Gold Collection, Dimensions – Progress as of 11 January 2020
Four Season Kittens by The Gold Collection, Dimensions – Progress as of March 2019 on the left and what the completed picture should look like on the right.

Plans for 2020

Becoming a uni student…again

The first half of this year at least is going to be super busy for me and I don’t think I’ll be getting much stitching done. I’m going back to uni – this time I’m enrolled at the University of Canberra (Uni of Canberra) to do a Graduate Certificate in Creative and Cultural Futures, commencing 10th February. The difference for me this time is that I’ll be attending lectures and tutorials instead of doing the majority of it online. Two years ago I graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Information Studies with a specialisation in Records and Archives. It took me 6 years of part-time study and working full-time to complete it and it was well worth the experience. I valued the flexibility studying online gave me. What I hadn’t realised, was how much I missed being in the class room until I decided to enrol in a course at the Uni of Canberra. I’m hoping that the Certificate will provide me with an introduction to working with cultural organisations and what it is to deal with cultural heritage information and artefacts. Something I hope will compliment my degree and who knows what it may lead to!

Work

The other thing that will be busy will be work. I’m contracted until mid to late September and by October-ish my workplace is due to move from its current office to a new location, roughly 1km away. My aim is to try and improve my self promotion at work and let people know that I am there to help them and what I can help them with. My fear factor is people leaving it too late to be organised for the move or them making some avoidable decisions if they had consulted me. One of my biggest difficulties is self-promotion. I know I have the skills. I’m just super scared of putting myself out there, for fear of failure and criticism.

Fitness and running

My goal for this year is to run 5km in 30 minutes. A few years ago I got really close to that time and I want to beat it. But in order to do so, I need to stop using the poor air quality conditions as an excuse and use the treadmill at the gym until things get better. For the last two to three months (at least), Canberra has been inundated with smoke and dust due to the bush fires to the East of us and the drought that has been surrounding us.

This morning (Sunday, 12 January 2020) was the first time in what feels like a very long time, I went for an interval run outside. Probably not one of the smartest things I’ve done considering the air quality this morning was rated as being unhealthy. My run covered just over 5km in the space of 44 minutes give or take. By the end of it my eyes felt raw and I had a bit of a headache from the smoke. When I did run though, it felt good. So when the smoke and dust clears, I am really looking forward to more running outside.

To keep myself motivated, I have entered into the 5.3km leg of the Canberra Times Marathon Festival, to be held in early April. This year the course has changed and the event is sponsored by a different company. I’m really looking forward to the different course. It’s quite similar to the course I’ve run many times when I worked in the suburb of Parkes and would run around Lake Burley Griffin during my lunch break or parts of it after work. It’s a beautiful spot and I’m really hoping that I don’t get injured between now and then!

Travel

When the air is clearer and the roads are safer, I can’t wait to get to the South Coast – specifically Malua Bay and the surrounding region. It’s my second home (like many Canberran’s) and when I first get down there, I may spend half my time in tears and being a ball of emotion because I’ll be able to properly see what the residents and tourists went through. I want to help the businesses there as much as I can by purchasing their goods and services whenever possible. I want to help the area get back on its feet and see the beautiful bushland regenerate.

Stitching

Stitching wise, I’ll still be plugging along on the same projects. My aim is to get as much stitching done before I start uni because I don’t know how much time I’ll be able to make for it when assignments and exams are due. I will be really happy if I could get the Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms fully finished this year so that I can enter it into the Canberra Royal Show for 2021. I’ll also be really happy if I could get about a quarter of the way through Moon Lit Waters by the end of the year. Any other finishes that happen this year will be gravy!

I want to use February as my motivation for finishes. Considering the complexity of the Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms and Moon Lit Waters, my aim is to get a page finish for both projects and hopefully a start on a new page.

March madness may see me having a break from the main projects and stitching a small, like a card or something along those lines. Though the madness may also be preparing for the fun run I’ve got early April and uni assignments/exams and a public holiday in there somewhere!

April however, may bring some holidays for Easter and ANZAC Day and hopefully a trip to Malua Bay and some crafty purchases.

I am curious about Stitch’May’nia this year and what that might bring for me. Life may get in the way too much, but if last year on Flosstube is anything to go by, I think it could be fun to be part of!

By June/July if all goes well, I should be finished with uni and then I’ll be able to be stitching mad again and life will be good!