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A Stitching Update and a Trip to Melbourne

Hi Everyone

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything for this blog. Looking back on what I have posted, it will have been about a month between drinks! I’ve been drafting a few more posts for this blog, I’ve been stitching like mad, taking short trips to Melbourne and to the South Coast, NSW and working towards changing my career direction. Not much running, but I have been doing a lot of fitness alternatives until my body is ready for it!

Stitching like mad…

I’ve been stitching like mad on a photo I’ve converted to a cross stitch picture. The image below shows the progress I’ve made on the first page of the pattern and the following image is the photograph I’m basing this project on.

Work in progress cross stitch project in a hoop. A lot of browns and greens. The picture is yet to take proper shape.
Work in progress cross stitch project
Mini Mushrooms photograph - Copyright Kristen Gawronski
Mini Mushrooms – copyright Kristen Gawronski

As I continue to stitch this project and referring back to the original image, I can’t help but make myself nervous about how it’s going to turn out. Whenever I start to get nervous, I remind myself that I am testing this out and I’ll be able to make alterations for future projects – whether it be this project or similar ones!

Trip to Melbourne…

My boyfriend is a keen supporter of the Sydney Swans (an AFL (Australian Football League) team). Since we’ve been together, I’ve really gotten into watching it with him and going to a number of their games up in Sydney. By getting a feel for what it’s like to watch the match live, I’ve been really keen to watch at least one match in Melbourne at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground, aka the G). The importance of this is the MCG is the mecca for the AFL and the grand final is always played at the MCG! So going to see a match at the MCG was on my bucket list. The challenge will be seeing the Swans play at the MCG in a grand final!

Swans vs Essendon at the MCG – We had seats in enemy territory

It was fantastic seeing the game at the MCG. Unfortunately we lost by 10 points and we were sitting in enemy territory – something we didn’t know until we got there and sat down at our seats. So the loss of the game was felt a lot more than if we were sitting anywhere else in the stadium.

However, the weather for the entire weekend was beautiful and we did a lot of walking around – especially along the Yarra River (aka The Yarra). Below are images of what we came across as part of our walks:

Left image – A view up the Yarra, looking towards the MCG; Centre image – a cool sculpture; and Right image – the Yarra, looking under a bridge at the MCG

The unfortunate thing with all of the walking we did, was the muscles around my left knee decided to let me know that they were very unhappy about the amount of movement it was doing. It swelled up and became stiff and very uncomfortable to walk. It thankfully has settled down since then and I can walk around with minimal problems.

I have tried running on the treadmill with limited success. About a week ago I went for a jog on the treadmill and within the first 50 to 100 metres it became too uncomfortable to run. Since then the elliptical machine/cross-trainer has become my favourite machine and I’ve really enjoyed listening to my music and the Zombies, Run! app. One of the things I have had to be careful of when listening to Zombies, Run! is how I react to it. There have been many times when I’ve been close to jumping out of my skin, or cringing significantly because of the sound effects or even wanting to talk to the characters (like I would if I were watching the t.v.)! I realise it shouldn’t matter too much since I’m at the gym early in the morning, my back is to the back of the gym and most of the gym-goers are too busy with what they’re doing to worry about what I’m doing!

So all in all, I’m still here, alive and kicking! Hopefully in a few months time I’ll be able to share with all of you an update on how my mini mushrooms picture is progressing. I’m also hoping that I’ll be running soon – quite probably in enough time to start being worried about swooping season!

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.

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