Posted in Uncategorized

How do you do your fandom cross stitch?

Hi Everyone,

There are a variety of ways we can celebrate our favourite movies, artists, songs, sporting teams, athletes and characters by creating bookmarks, quotes with beautiful borders and immortalizing through portraits to name a few. What’s inspired this post is some digital patterns I’ve recently purchased from Tilton Crafts Cross Stitch and Heaven and Earth Designs.

Where to get your fandom cross stitch

Who or what do you want to immortalise? When I’ve done some Google searches to see what’s out there, I’ve loved seeing the wide variety of options out there. I’ve found cute little caricatures of characters from popular television shows, famous musicians, sports stars and even your own family members and pets! Then there’s been the logos of various sports teams from various football codes, athletics, fishing, hockey (field and ice) and most other sports you can think of – let alone the action shots that go with those sports.

Full Coverage, realistic

Once you know this, you can then figure out how you want it to look. I prefer to have my fandom projects to look as much like the character or person as possible. This usually means that the project will be solid with at least some confetti stitching. An example of this is one of the patterns I purchased from Tilton Crafts cross stitch pattern of Robin Williams:

Cross Stitch Chart by Tilton Crafts, adapted from art by Emily Stepp
“Soccer Mom” designed by Jane Wooster Scott, charted by Heaven and Earth Designs

If you like this style of fandom, it’s definitely worth checking out their website to see what else they have!

Cartoons and smaller pieces

The less detailed the piece, the easier and quicker it is to stitch. But it can also mean a lot more back-stitch to give the detail it needs. I’ve found so many pieces on Etsy by many talented designers, heaps of different fandom cross stitch designs that will hopefully fit with your preferences.

HardKnotLife Studio for example, has a store on Etsy and they have created a beautiful cross stitch pattern based upon a watercolour picture of the four main characters of ‘The Wizard of Oz’:

‘Watercolour Wizard of Oz’ by HardKnotLife Studio

If monochrome is more your style, you may like the next example by PitbullAndFish who also have a store on Etsy and have designed the following pattern titled ‘Jack Skellington Silhouette’:

‘Jack Skellington Silhouette’ by PitbullAndFish on Etsy

The great thing with this type of pattern is that you can stitch it on whatever colour fabric you want and use whatever colour thread you want. For example, you might choose to stitch it on orange fabric with black thread, white fabric with variegated thread or any combination you want.

Samplers and getting wordy

Do you have a favourite quote from a movie, song, television show, sports commentator or something you heard or saw but you’re not sure who said it? This is where subversive cross stitch comes into play. The Clouds Factory for example, have some great patterns they have created based upon quotes from movies such as ‘V is for Vendetta’, ‘Hocus Pocus’, ‘Doctor Who’ and the rules from the ‘Gremlins’.

Alternatively, stitching iconic logos/emblems and images from your favourite show/movie/sport etc. with a few words are a great way to express your fandom. SewMarieStudio for example, is another store on Etsy that does just this and below are some examples of their awesome work:

How would you celebrate your fandom?

If you weren’t able to find any patterns that suited what you’re after, would you create your own fandom pattern? I’ve certainly considered doing this with some of the shows I love watching and converting some of the images I’ve found on the Internet to cross stitch patterns. I haven’t done anything yet and it would be for my own personal use. I would have no intention of re-creating the patterns for sale to make money.

What would you stitch to express your fandom?

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!

Posted in Uncategorized

Perceptions Are Everything! Or are they?

How important are perceptions? Who are you trying to impress? Who are you trying keep on your good side? Who are you trying to stay on the good side of? Additionally, what are your perceptions of cross stitch? How have they changed? Do you know what your family and friends perceptions of cross stitch are?

Perceptions by Hanrie Greeb – Published 2 March 2016

Perceptions are important, whether they be positive or negative ones. What I think it depends on is:

  • what I am trying to achieve
  • who am I needing support from
  • who I am needing to impress

Cross Stitch Perceptions

  • What are your perceptions of cross stitch?
  • What perceptions are you aware of from non-stitchers?
  • Who’s support stitchers need to ensure the longevity of cross stitch?
  • Who’s perceptions of cross stitch are you trying to convert?
  • What would happen if you were successful or unsuccessful in converting them?

For me, bringing new people into the crafting community and having more people to share my interest with is exciting and something I hope happens. But it’s not the end of my world if the interest isn’t there because there’s always the internet and what is old is new again is old again – i.e. it’ll come back into fashion again soon!

Additionally, it’s the opinions of the people who are already part of the crafting community and my loved ones who matter to me the most and I hope they feel the same way. Inclusion is important.

Furthermore, my perceptions of cross stitch is that it’s an awesome hobby to have. Unfortunately it becomes taxing on my posture, eye sight, hands and weight when I’ve been sitting down for too long.

Image from 11 Best Posture-Correcting Devices article

Turning a hobby into a profession

Additionally, I would love to turn my love for cross-stitch into a profession. However, the other perception and reality is that it may not be as lucrative as I would like it to be – especially if I want to maintain my current lifestyle! For people who don’t stitch, they don’t really know or understand just how much time and effort that goes into a piece. And they would not be willing to pay thousands of dollars if the true value was placed on the piece.

Meanwhile, physical and digital stores rely on there being enough stitchers out there who are interested in their products to purchase them. Additionally, the market can be fickle and with the potential for people to create their own patterns using a variety of methods, it makes life difficult for the stores to be able to have the right products in stock and to be able to adjust to changes in the market. Two examples of this is the Victoria House Needlecraft store in Mittagong and the Fox Collection.

Over 10 years ago when I first visited the Victoria House Needlecraft store in Mittagong, the variety of patterns, kits and supplies available was amazing and I have easily spent hours and hundreds of dollars in the store. As time has passed and the business has changed a few times, the availability of products has changed due to consumer interests, what products the suppliers have provided the store and whether consumers are able to buy directly from the suppliers. For example, we can buy directly from Heaven and Earth Designs and a few years ago, we may not have been able to do so.

Meanwhile, the Fox Collection has widened their scope significantly since the first time I was introduced to their catalogue over 10 years ago. I remember the catalogue predominantly featured all things cross stitch related with a few pages a the end for jigsaw puzzles and some scrapbooking supplies. Now, half of the catalogue features pages for scapbooking, diamond dots, decoupage, crochet, knitting colouring-in, paint-by-numbers, quilting and related accessories. Admittedly, the Fox Collection is part of the Innovations brand which enables them to expand their scope and product base to meet the needs of more customers and the changing trends.

Grandma Stitch – The non-stitcher’s view of cross stitch

Meanwhile, when I first got back into cross stitch and I told people what I did in my spare time, I would be met with an ‘oh’ and a slightly puzzled and disappointed look. Or an ‘oh, my grandma does/did that’. I would then proceed to tell people what projects I’m working and show them pictures if I had my phone with me. Which would then completely change their idea of cross stitch and would be a lot more surprised and enthusiastic when they realised that the patterns have progressed from their memories of the traditional samplers they may have seen at their grandparents house.

Time and patience

Other comments and feedback I’ve received about cross stitch is ‘I don’t have the time or patience for cross stitch’. Yet some have the time and patience for watching movies, binge watching television shows, browsing the Net and playing video games to name a few. Now, don’t get me wrong, I loooooove all of those things and I cross stitch while I’m binge watching tv shows and movies. I’m also lucky that no one has filmed me yelling at the tv when I’m playing XCOM: Enemy Unknown because my soldiers can’t shoot straight, the aliens are picking on me or my soldiers have freaked or they’re mind controlled and are trying to shoot each other instead.

To me, the hidden question is whether or not these people want to give cross stitch a go, but are afraid of what others will think of them or they are afraid that they may enjoy it?

Final Thoughts – cross stitch can be cool

I would love for many more non-stitchers to see clips like the one below and the subversive cross stitch sites to see that cross stitch can be of any image or saying you want it to be. And it can be stitched onto anything you want and worn out in public!

The worlds of hip-hop and cross stitch connect in a cool way.

Additionally, I’m one of those nutters who will more likely than not, forego my health for my craft and become a hunched over old lady with hands swollen from arthritis and stitching too much.

Related posts and sites:

Posted in Uncategorized

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 !