Posted in WIP's and Plans

Jolly June and Stitchmas in July

Hi Everyone

I hope you’re all well. By the time I publish this post, many of us in Australia will be half way through/nearing the end of our last long weekend until October. As quickly as those weeks and months will go between now and then, the prospect of there not being a long weekend to have a reprieve from the cold weather, work, life and anything in-between seems daunting. To help put things into perspective with the number of long weekends Australia has, most of ours tend to happen from Christmas/New Year through to June.

That said, in Canberra at least, the week that’s just ending has been my first week to go to the gym and start seeing people I have regularly trained with and seen in the gym face-to-face! I never thought I’d be so excited and happy about setting foot in the gym again and seeing everyone! Seeing some of my training buddies online via Zoom has helped with not feeling so isolated. But there’s something about seeing someone face-to-face – even if you can’t or aren’t meant to – give them a hug, just being around people and being able to start working out with gym equipment felt really, really good.

There’s also been a few times in the last few weeks where I’ve popped into work for a few hours here and there and it was nice to get out of the house. I didn’t enjoy feeling like a pack horse and lugging my work equipment between the office and the car. For cheaper parking, I choose to park my car about 5 to 10 minutes walk away from the office and carrying a laptop bag with the laptop, full keyboard, power cords, mouse and anything else I need gets heavy after a while. I’m estimating it all to be about 2 to 3 kilos. Which doesn’t seem like much, but it feels like 10 kilos by the end of the walk.

Now for the cross stitch stuff

In my last post, I hinted at how I was going to be able to work on some of my projects from Stitch Maynia that I hadn’t been able to spend as much time on. Taking inspiration from Stitch Maynia and Canberra moving well and truly into Winter, I’m aiming to make June and July as colourful and festive as possible. This means making June and July the months I can focus on Christmas related projects and projects that are colourful, make me happy and I really enjoy stitching.

Christmas Stitches

It’s not going to be a nutty as what Stitch Maynia felt like. At the moment I’m going to be working on finishing the Christmas themed projects I started from the Ultimate Cross Stitch Christmas magazine/book, Volume 19 from 2018. The pictures below are the projects I had started working on – Candy Express and Santa’s Coming, designed by Shannon Wasilieff and Durene Jones.

Tip: Candy Express can also be found on the website Shannon Christine Designs.

Since last week, I spent a bit more time on Santa’s Coming and below is my latest progress. I may need to re-stitch Ryan’s name to centre it a bit more. The long line of crosses you see just above Ryan shows the full width of the banner his name is in. That said, I just need to stitch the apostrophe and the ‘s’, so it may balance it out!

Progress of Santa’s Coming as of 7 June 2020

I’ve also made a start on (and nearly finished) a project that I’ll make into a card or Christmas decoration called Let it Snow by Emma Congdon out of the Ultimate Cross Stitch Christmas magazine/book Volume 19 from 2018.

Design by Emma Congdon – Pattern from Ultimate Christmas Cross Stitch Vol 19 2018

My reason for it being in dark colours is due to it being for one of my work colleagues who wears a lot of black at work and sometimes some pink. For this project I used the DMC 53 varigated thread. Unfortunately I can’t remember what the fabric count is because I’ve had this fabric for a while. I’m guessing it’s 28 count and I’ve stitched it two strands of thread over two ‘strands’ or squares of fabric.

I’ve also learnt my lesson with reducing the amount of rotations I do with this pattern when I’m stitching the border! Check out my recent post called ‘How Many Secrets does your Cross Stitch Hold?’ and you’ll see what I mean.

I’m aiming to continue stitching the Let it Snow pattern a few more times in different varigated threads for my work colleagues so that I feel ready for Christmas time and surprise them. This is also pending that we’ll be all working back in the office!

Jolly June Stitching

Yesterday afternoon I started one of the projects I’d been wanting to start in May – Design Works ‘Zebras’. In my last post, I had called this project Colourful Zebras. That was a mistake on my part. This project is just called Zebras.

Since working on some Dimensions kits, I’m making sure I get into the habit of writing the symbols on the floss cards for any kits I work on. This has made the world of difference! The only sticky point I had with writing the symbols on the card for the Zebras was for two of the holes in the floss card, are two different colours. E.g. a blue and brown in one hole and a purple and green in another. Not a big deal, just something I hadn’t expected! Below is my progress as of 7 June 2020:

So far I’ve been able to stitch around a part of the Zebra’s eye that has a lot of yellow and orange and I’ve stitched a part of the pink on the second Zebra’s forehead and a part of it’s forelock.

Stitchmas Plans

For Christmas in July, my aim is to keep working on Candy Express and Santa’s Coming and the Let it Snow cards. My additional aim is to start on the following patterns – some of which I had kitted up and mostly ready for Stitch Maynia.

Christmas Cuddles

I’ve got this project kitted up and it’s designed by Jenny Burton. Her pattern is in The World of Cross Stitching magazine. Unfortunately I’m unable to properly tell what the volume number is or the year. I had bought it at the same time as the Ultimate Cross Stitch Christmas magazine/book near the end of 2018 at the Batehaven newsagency in New South Wales, Australia.

When Santa got stuck in the chimney

The design is by Emma Congdon out of Ultimate Cross Stitch Christmas book/magazine. I’m yet to kit it up. I like look of the design and the lettering in it so different to what I’ve been use to seeing in designs over the years. I’m curious about how the design process is for such lettering!

On the first day…

This design is by Rhona Norrie from the Ultimate Cross Stitch Christmas magazine/book. I’ve partially kitted this one up because some of the called for colours are being used in other projects.

I think this project and Christmas Cuddles will give me a run for my money with both of them being stitched on navy blue fabric! Thankfully I have a few other projects to alternate between and I have an awesome over-the-top light that will help a lot!

Well, that’s it from me for this week. Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Posted in Stitch Maynia, Tips and Tricks, WIP's and Plans

Stitch Maynia Progress and What I’ve Learnt So Far

Hi Everyone

As I’m writing this post, it’s Sunday 17th May 2020 in Australia and we have about two more weeks until then end of May and a long weekend!

My experience with Stitch Maynia so far has been a whirlwind and I’m now appreciating why so many participants have been talking about making plans and rotations etc. When I’ve watched some of the flosstube clips on Stitch Maynia, I’ve admired people who have known which projects they’re going to work on which days and sticking to those plans. I’ve found that I can plan something within an inch of its life, but executing those plans is something best left to someone else. Alternatively, if someone else has planned something, for the most part I’m able to follow through on those plans. I’ve found that it’s a lot to do with the amount of energy I’m able to apply to either the plans or executing the plans – rarely both!

Progress so far…

With that in mind, a few weeks ago, I had written a post about Stitch Maynia and whether it was better to big, small or medium projects throughout May or to do a combination of all three. I’d also mentioned that I was going to to a mixture of existing WIP’s (works in progress) and new starts. I have been able to stick to that. I have changed a little in terms of what the new starts would be based on what I’m feeling on the day and my available supplies.

For my physical patterns, I’ve found it easier to use a coloured pencil to track which days I’ve stitched on a pattern and how much I’ve stitched. Below is an example of what I’ve done with some of my patterns:

How I use coloured pencils to track how much I’ve stitched on which days

What I haven’t done is properly track (at a quick glance) which patterns I’ve spent what time on and which ones need more attention or starting. I’m thinking that it may be easier to have a printed calendar style page stuck to the wall or a convenient place for me to use the coloured pencils to visually see what’s going on. Below is an example of what I think could work:

SundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday
12
Gingerbred Train
(Started – yellow)
3
Autumn Castle
4
Barnyard Kittens (coloured pencil) and
Autumn Castle (coloured pencil)
56
Gundaroo Mini Mushroom (yellow)
7
Gingerbred Train
(Cherry Red)
89
10
Gundaroo Mini Mushroom (Cherry Red)
1112
Barnyard Kittens (yellow)
131415
Fight Like a Girl
(Pattern Keeper)
16
Moon Lit Waters
(Pattern Keeper)
17
Gingerbred Train
(Rose Red)
181920212223
24252627282930
31
Example of calendar style as a visual tracker of what I’ve stitched

Meanwhile, I’ve seen that some people like to use something digital like a spreadsheet or pattern keeper. I’ve also seen some people use a project picker wheel spinner app to help them pick what project to stitch next.

I am using pattern keeper for some of my projects, where the patterns work for that app. What I’m trying to figure out is if the app can tell me when I’ve last worked on a pattern. If you know if the app has that feature and how I can get it to work, I would love to hear about it!

I’m thinking that the project picker wheel spinner app could be useful if I’m undecided about which project to stitch on next – especially when Stitch Maynia comes around next year!

What I’ve learnt…

Having enough tools of the trade

The importance of having enough hoops, needles and needle minders!

Swapping things around for the projects that I’ve not kept a needle, hoop and needle minder with has been challenging. So much so that within the second week of Stitch Maynia, I’ve lost the backs of two needle minders! Thankfully I’ve got some spare magnets that I had purchased a while ago to try and make my own needle minders and it’s made the world of difference.

Preferential Treatment

I’ve also found that I’m starting to preference some of my newer projects for some of my older ones. Mostly because they’re new and exciting and I haven’t lost my interest in them yet. Which is a good thing and a bad thing. The bad thing is that the older projects are getting set aside for longer and one of my goals for the Gundaroo Mini Mushroom project is to have it finished, framed and ready for the next Canberra Royal Show. At this rate, I probably wont have it ready for the required cut off date to submit the project. Also, who knows what the shows will be like next year with social distancing, restrictions on public gatherings etc?

Working from home

Being at home for longer has been a good thing and a bad thing. I’m saving money by not travelling as much and the temptation to stitch more than working has been stronger than ever. As a compromise, I’ve stitched a bit before work – if the weather isn’t great for a long walk – and getting some stitches in at lunch time. This has helped me with sticking as closely as I can to the goal of 200 stitches per day to my project of the day, resulting in 200 stitches for each project throughout the week before I change the colour of the pencil. If I’m able to add 200 stitches to the project of the day and I’ve still got some hours before bedtime, I’ll make a start on another project that needs some attention.

Being too ambitious

Had I not been working, being able to work on 20 different projects for the month of May would be reasonable and achievable. I’m now appreciating why many people this year are choosing to do MonogoMaynia or doing a similar variation that makes it manageable for them – e.g. focusing on a page finish.

I really wanted to be able to work on 20 projects for this month and I still have time to be able to do it, as this particular post will be released on the weekend of 23rd/24th May. The pressure I’m putting on myself for this, if I choose to have 20 projects for May because of the year 2020, I need to be able to keep working on them and finish as many of them as possible. Preferably by the end of this year or May next year at the latest!

So what I’ll do for next year if I can, is to focus on smaller projects – preferably cards. By memory I had mentioned this at the start of this year, when I was talking about my plans for the year. Whether or not I stick to this is yet to be seen!

Wrap up

How are things going for you with Stitch Maynia? What version of it have you chosen to do?

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Related Reads

Posted in Stitch Maynia, WIP's and Plans

Stitch Maynia. Big versus small projects

Hi Everyone

Since I’ve started watching Flosstube, I’ve become increasingly aware of Stitch Maynia and each year I’ve been increasingly tempted to participate. because it looks like a lot of fun and I’m really good at starting a bucket load of projects! My challenge will be to finish everything that I start!

Based on what I’ve seen on the ‘Net and Flosstube, Stitch Maynia had started in May 2015 and based upon the year 2015, Stitchers were encouraged to started 15 new projects. The projects could be whatever the Stitchers wanted them to be and the aim was to get as many of those projects completed by the end of 2015. If Stitchers hadn’t been able to finish their 2015 starts by the time 2016 rolled around, they would need to include those WIP’s (works in progress) and whatever new starts they wanted to make up the 16 projects for 2016 Maynia. If Stitchers had completed all of their 2015 Maynia WIP’s, then they would be able to have 16 new starts for 2016 Stitch Maynia!

If I participate in Stitch Maynia this year, it would mean that I would need to have 20 new starts and I could start these in any which way I want – as long as they’re all started by the end of May.

Big versus Small Starts

Considering that there are meant to be 20 new starts this year, having 20 big starts may be overwhelming because of the amount of floss each project would need, where to keep it all, how to manage it etc.

Big Project Starts

Working on a big project is a challenge within its self because of the shear size of it, the amount of colours it may require, the length of time you need to spend on stitching it and that strong sense of achievement when you’ve finished it. To me, a big project is something that will take years to complete – especially if it’s the only thing I’m focusing on. Heaven and Earth Designs (HAED’s) are the first thing that comes to mind when I think of big projects. In some of my earlier posts, I’ve talked a bit about my progress on my first HAED – Moon Lit Waters.

My first HAED

If you choose to do at least one large project, check out the Pattern Keeper app if you haven’t already. It will let you know which designers are compatible with the app and if you’re trying to narrow down what to stitch, its compatibility with Pattern Keeper may be the decider!

If you choose to do 20 big starts as part of Stitch Maynia, the awesome thing is that not all projects need to have a bucket load of colours to give it that wow factor. One of the trends I’ve noticed with a lot of the Flosstubers is the amount of people who are in love with samplers – especially samplers based on or inspired by ones from over 100 years ago. Many of these samplers don’t have a lot of colours in them. Some of which are just mono-chrome or use variegated threads and make the most of the different hand-dyed fabrics available.

Another option for your big starts is to be part of a Stitch-A-Long (SAL) that releases patterns at the start of each month and by the end of the designated time frame, you will have a beautiful large piece.

Small Starts

To me, there’s something exciting about starting a new project – once I’ve decided on what I’m stitching and I have everything kitted up (unless I’ve chosen a kit). The excitement is in the new beginnings, fresh starts and seeing something come to life on the fabric. It also has bit to do with my attention span and getting the itch to start something new every few months or so.

Therefore, to me a small start is something I can complete within a week or two – a month maximum. It may just take me a while to fully finish it!

One of the things I really enjoy stitching are cards for various celebrations – even though I don’t stitch them very often. Partly because I struggle with fully finishing them as cards. However, with Stitch Maynia I now have the excuse to stitch a heap of Christmas and birthday cards and related paraphernalia! It may also prompt me to start some Halloween projects that I’ve been eyeing off for a while now and talked about in some of my blog posts.

The other cool thing with stitching cards is that I’m able to use some of the off-cuts of fabric I have floating around the house!

A bit of both?

Since there are meant to be 20 new starts this year, there’s nothing wrong with mixing it up and having a combination of big and small projects. Which means that you should be able to get a sense of achievement by the end of May because of the small starts being finished or nearly finished. And you should also be able to see a bit of progress with some of your bigger projects.

Theoretically, this will satisfy my need to stitch a mixture of small, medium and large projects. I’ll be able to continue working on my current WIP’s and get some small cards done. My main challenge will be deciding on what to start and when. I can plan something to the last inch of its life. My struggle point is putting those plans into action! Mostly because I’ve put so much time and effort into the planning phase, that in my mind I’ve already put those plans into action and I feel like my job is done. Funnily enough, I’m not always able to follow other people’s plans as well. There’s something about my need for independence and flexibility. There’s also an element of trying to follow something exactly and then there’s a change to my routine and I struggle to get back to the regular program.

But I digress…I’m still hopeful that I’m able to stick to the plans and projects I’ve put together for Stitch Maynia and that I can keep it flexible enough to keep me happy. The other thing that I’ll be testing during this maynia month is the use of coloured pencils on my paper patterns I can’t load into Pattern Keeper. My aim is to use a different coloured pencil for each day that I work on those patterns so that I can see how much progress I’m able to make. My goal is to stitch a minimum of 200 stitches for each medium to large project before I can move onto the next project. I’ve found that for most projects this is achievable because I’m able to spend a couple of hours at least on them, and for most projects I’m able to easily get the 200 stitches in!

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Related Reads:

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 !