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Top 5 Cross Stitch Things to Perfect (and 5 I may never)

This post reminds me that mistakes are a good thing, as it means that I’m still learning and that I have the ability to do what I love and share these things with like-minded people. I also accept that I may never perfect these top 5 or they may be replaced with a new 5!

5. Keeping track of needles and pencils

Prior to receiving a needle minder as a birthday gift, I was regularly dropping needles and jumping up from the couch or chair to look for the needle amongst the cushions and dust and dirt on the floor. I would be doing a similar thing with the lead pencils when the couch would eat them or I’d accidentally drop them on the floor.

4. Counting Crosses

Every so often I joke with family and friends that I need to go back to school and learn how to count and get my eyes checked. This is based around me miscounting how many stitches I need to do and tracking where I am in the pattern when I’m tired or distracted, resulting in me needing to unpick parts of the picture and re-stitch it. I’ve also been clever enough to mark off parts of the pattern that I’ve not even stitched yet!

3. Getting my measurements right

If you’re anything like me, you’ll love to make the most out of your fabric stores that have been built up from trimming up other cross-stitch projects. This means that at times I come up a bit short when I’m trying to find the right amount of fabric for a project I’m working on or I have just completely misread the measurements at the front of the pattern.

White Horse

This has often left me stressing as I’m stitching, whether or not I’ll have enough fabric to fit the design on it. I’ve even made the mistake of stitching a picture around the wrong way! This happened when I first started the picture and didn’t pay enough attention to which way I had the fabric in the hoop. Which meant that I stitched a landscape picture in a portrait view and I give full credit to the professional framers who framed up this picture for me. They have done an amazing job with the product I gave them.

“Catch of the Day” by Bryan Moon – published/distributed by Dimensions

2. French Knots

When done well, French knots can really add that extra bit of detail to a picture that other types of stitches may not. It is also the one type of detail/stitch that I’ve never mastered! Admittedly, I’ve not practiced them much to help my cause. If anything, I’ve either avoided or delayed stitching some patterns that have this stitch or I’ve used beads in their place.

One of the things that I love about living in this day and age, is having IT devices and an internet connection at my finger tips and being able to look up anything that I need to. Which means that I can watch numerous YouTube clips on how to do French Knots. I’m also able to purchase a variety of needle minders and related tools to help me keep track of my lead pencils. I also love that technology enables me to have digital cross stitch patterns and digitally mark off the areas that I’ve stitched.

1. Cutting/Sewing Straight

For many years I’ve joked with family, friends and colleagues that if I can’t walk straight when I’m sober, then so help me when I’m drunk! This inability to walk straight extends into my ability to cut straight, sew straight and draw a straight line. This is causing me headaches, as I’m attempting to make a quilt out of the various country themed cross stitch pictures I’ve stitched over the years. I’m not following a specific pattern or plan which is adding to the fun of trying to cut and sew straight! Instead, the images below are what I have in my mind of how I want the quilt to look – both images I came across on Pinterest.

With these two images in mind, below is progress to date for my country quilt and you’ll see that sewing or cutting straight really isn’t my thing!

Country quilt progress as of April 2019

What I’m really excited about with this quilt is that I’m getting closer to finishing it. Also, by not strictly following a pattern, I’ve been able to problem solve on the go and talk with a variety of people to try and figure out how I can get past my creative blocks. Which means, watch this space to see how I fix the blue borders around the cross stitch pics!

Until next time, happy stitching everyone!

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Some of My Favourite Stitchy Places and Things

Hi Everyone

It’s been a while since I’ve posted something and the last few posts have been a bit intense and not the usual light-hearted posts I’ve shared posted before. So my aim for this post is to bring back that light-hearted vibe that I hope you all enjoy, by talking about some of my favourite places to stitch and things I use while I’m stitching.

To kick things off, I’m writing this post at the coast (Malua Bay, NSW, Australia) and the weather is absolutely beautiful! Even if the weather wasn’t beautiful, I would still be really happy to be here. The house is located in short walking distance to two beaches, the local shops that has a fantastic butcher who also makes amazing coffee to warm the soul and local lawn bowls club that serves really yummy Chinese food. The two hard parts are walking back up the hills and going back home and back to reality. To me there’s something about the relaxed lifestyle of being at the coast and so close to the beaches that I love. Additionally, the coast is my third home (the second being my parents place in the country-side). For school holidays when I was growing up through to long weekends or short weekends away, the coast has always been the go-to place where a lot of my memories are from. Also, I’m very much an introvert and alone time is important to me. To escape from people and re-charge my batteries – especially before I moved out of home to my own place. Meanwhile, we’ve just had a new entertainment unit delivered to the house which is going to make it a lot easier for technology improvements and changes and accessing the power points that are behind the unit. Especially as televisions continue to get bigger, gaming consoles are updated and our tastes in movies and television shows change. Which will mean that I have yet another reason to sit down and do some cross stitch! **Sigh** First world problems ‘ay!

If the weather happens to be bad outside and I’m unable to be out there enjoying by sitting on the balcony (if I’m at the coast – see images below) or going for runs or walks, having the television on in the background while I’m stitching is one of the things I love to do. If this is the case, I’ve found having a movie or television show on that has a similar genre to the project I’m working on a real motivator.

Balcony View 1 – slight water view
Balcony View 2
Balcony View 3

For example, when I was stitching the Palamino by Country Threads or Midnight Glow by Dyan Allaire for Kustom Krafts (see below), I was regularly watching Heartland or McLeod’s Daughters.

Completed Palamino. I have used this as part of a country/outback/Australiana themed  quilt. I've used a navy blue trim around it with lime green or avacado green fabric to connect it to other cross stitch pictures.
Palamino by Country Threads
Three quarters of this image has been stitched. The nose and remaining part of the mane of the horse needs to be stitched. I may not have enough fabric to be able to stitch it all.
Work in progress – Midnight Glow – Design by Deanne Allaire for Kustom Krafts

If I’m not down at the coast, I’m definitely chilling out at home with cross stitch in hand and television in the background. If it happens to be a nice day outside, I’ll try and make the most of it by being out at the patio. Which is where I’ll have my earphones on and I’ll be listening to music or an audio book or something from Youtube like Flosstube!

I have considered taking my stitching public – e.g. going to a park or cafe and stitching whilst drinking a coffee or hot chocolate or even going to the library. I’ve been a bit nervous about it. Scared even! In my introverted way, I’ve been fearful of the fabric getting dirty or spilling something on it. But mostly fearful of what others might say – especially if I’m stitching at a cafe on my own and the staff getting annoyed that I’m sitting at one of their tables for hours on end and only drinking a coffee or hot chocolate, when they could have many people sitting at that table ordering drinks and/or food. Then there’s the sharp object thing in a public space that isn’t a knife if I’m at a cafe. I’d like to think that it shouldn’t be a big deal stitching in public – especially since there are knitting and crochet groups who catch up in my local area!

What about you? Are you a home body as well or do you recharge your batteries through your social interactions or being out amongst nature? Where do you like to stitch? Do you need peace and quiet or something noisy in the background?

I love needle minders!

Meanwhile, if I haven’t mentioned it before in my other posts, I’ll mention it here and quite probably in future posts too…I looooove my needle minder! I can’t believe I’ve been stitching so long without one! It has made the world of difference for reducing the amount of times I jump up from the couch cursing and swearing that I’ve dropped my needle and need to find it before anyone steps on it or sits on it. I love it so much that a few weeks ago at the Canberra leg of the Craft Alive Fair, I bought a few more and I wish I had them with me so that I could share pictures of them with you. Hopefully I’ll remember and share them with you in my next post!

Old school paper patterns

I’m old enough to remember very well the cassette and VHS tapes and the joys of batteries dying in diskman’s and walkman’s and the transition from cassettes to CD’s and VHS to DVD’s to streaming music and movies online. I’m also young enough to be championing the use of digital patterns, spreadsheets and apps on my phone or laptop to keep track of my threads, patterns, fabric and cross stitch related things. But there’s something about the physical marking off of an area of a pattern with a lead pencil that I can’t shake. I have purchased a digital pattern and I have briefly had the intention of trying to keep it digital as I stitch but I couldn’t do it. I had to print it off.

A comfy chair with my legs stretched out

Unfortunately I’ve managed to do something to my side of the recliner couch and I miss being able to have the foot rest up while I’m stitching. It was sooo comfy and it gave my legs a good work out when I needed to put the foot rest back into position. The couch still is comfy and I enjoy being able to sink into it while I’m chilling out. I just need to figure out how to re-establish the tension for the wire that normally enables the foot rest to go out/come out.

So these are just a few of my favourite stitchy places and things. I’d love to hear about your favourite stitchy places and things.

Until next time…Happy Stitching!