#26 My Everest: part III

As the snow’s been falling  outside, I’ve been tucked-up inside; cross stitching. Exactly what days off are made for.

These much-needed Me Days have been spent working on My Everest (apt, considering the weather), and I wanted to share the progress.

While I’ve struggled to sustain enthusiasm throughout the course of this WIP, any cross stitch project that calls for a mini multi-coloured horse on a string is sure to get the craft mojo flowing again…

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And here’s how it’s looking thus far…

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It is good to know, however, that I’m not the only one who’s running behind schedule – the recipient’s fashionably late too.

Well it is a girl’s prerogative after all…

J x

#24 Just another wet WIP Wednesday…

If a picture can say a thousand words, the same can be said of our stitches.

Hours of meticulous concentration and unwavering love showered onto a piece of canvas all in the name of progress. And progress I am making.

I don’t doubt some of you will already be able to see what this finished piece will be, but hopefully you’ll still appreciate the shading and detail that’s going to make it wonderful…

Day 1

Day One

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Day Two

Day Three

Day Three

…For the rest of you, I hope you have fun guessing.

J x

 

#23 Cross stitch magazines: a blessing and a curse

Much like I was to blogging, I seem to have been pretty late to the fold when it comes to the cross stich magazine.

In the space of a month I’ve gone from being completely oblivious to their merits and popularity to having an annual subscription to The World of Cross Stitching (TWOCS) and being frightfully close to ordering several hundred back issues of Cross Stitch Crazy in a bid to get my fix.

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And while the prospect of curling up in bed with a cup of tea and flicking through page after page of patterns after work is beyond tempting, it does hinder my progress and heighten my procrastination levels on my current WIP (#22).

So, if I’m going to read them I thought I might as well write about them: share my views on why I’ve come to love and less-love about these monthly nuggets of knowledge.

  1. LOVE: The patterns – if I had known you receive so many free patterns per issue I would have signed-up months ago. Fairies, robots (see this sampler from the December issue of TWOCS) and even glow-in-the-dark canvas – anything your heart and hands could desire. The only problem is where to begin.
  2. LOVE: The inspiration – picking up any issue and being greeted by the friendly ‘meet the designer’ feature makes me want to have a go myself. Reading the articles and exploring the different designs sparks another level of creativity within me and add this skill to my bow.
  3. LOVE: Finding new designers ­­– you can’t go wrong with an anchor, DMC or even a Bothy Threads pattern but the more I read these magazines, the more I fall in love with independent designers. Without this platform I would never have come across Durene Jones and her charming collection of birdie designs (below) or Lucie Heaton’s booklet of little treasures.

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The only thing I less-than-love – apologies for the appalling lexis – about these magazines so far (and believe me I had to dig deep) is that it’s made me want to be a selfish little stitcher. 2014 and the majority of 2015 have and will be about cross stitch gifts for various family and friends, so I’ve decided that 2016 is going to be for me.

And, yes, I know I’m probably not going to stick to it, but it would be oh-so-nice to be able to pick up a pattern as soon as I see it and finish it for me.

So thanks, magazines, for highlighting the hundreds of amazing cross stitch patterns out there for the sewing and how there aren’t enough hours in the day to finish them.

There’s such a thing as a cross stitch sabbatical, right?

J x

#22 I’m a V.I.B! (Very Inspiring Blogger)

I’m having a great blog day, courtesy of Sewing Butterfly.

downloadMy fellow blogger has nominated me for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award, for which I thank her sincerely. After only three short months blogging, I’m delighted to have inspired another talent in our crafty community to put my name forward for this thread of appreciation.

Not only has this been one of my favourite days as a blogger, but it’s also made me take the time to actually sit down and acknowledge some of the reasons why I follow and enjoy the blogs I do.

Find out who and why inspire me and the blogger’s I’ve nominated here…

#21 My Everest: Part II

With my Christmas creations all signed, sealed and delivered it’s time to turn my attention back to my first pressing WIP project of 2015 Everest (#15).

In between some seasonal baking and finishing-off my Christmas cards (not to mention a complete kitchen renovation – nothing to do with cross stitching, I know) I’ve managed to put in a few hours here and there to crack-on with a special little lady’s baby blanket.

Thankfully, I’m pleased to report, the more I complete the less daunting the task has become. I only hope I finish in time for her arrival later this month and subsequent first visit up North.

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The front

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The back

After much deliberation, I decided that the best way to tackle this project, both mentally and practically, was to work from the top down. imageThis means I’m completing each individual square in turn (as opposed to finishing all the bears first before moving onto the bows and buttons, then the borders and back stitching) and keeping the afghan material as clean as possible in the process.

The hope is that this will help me to complete the blanket with greater speed and enthusiasm, as I’m witnessing each line and character come to life in turn. It also means I’m not left with an abundance of backstitching to do at the end of the project. I liken this task to leaving your least favourite chocolates in a box until last – you still have to eat them, but don’t have any of the best ones to break them up with…

J x

#20 The art of finding hidden treasures

For me, the best thing about having a hobby like cross stitching is that I can find and create the most personable gifts for my nearest and dearest.

It’s a best-of-both-worlds hobby, really – I’m gifted special pieces like the poppy pattern in my recent post (#19) or I spot designs myself when coasting my local craft barns for the certain someones in my life.

The pieces below are exactly that.

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Classic Winnie the Pooh – ‘Bathtime’ by Anchor, 16-count Aida, 15cm x 15cm

I found this cross stitch hidden at the back of a Winnie the Pooh sale rack months ago. The second I saw it I knew it was destined to belong to Mr XStitch’s Auntie Kate. Her love of all things Winnie is endearing and so to make this for her was a treat for both her and me.

Though not easy at times due to the metallic thread used to create the soapy suds and the tricky back stitch detail on the barrel tub, to see the finished result made this little project well worth it.

I also wanted to share a little extra present I made for my Mum for Christmas: this black and white kitty keyring.

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Again, this was another hidden treasure found buried at the bottom of a basket of mini kits & starter patterns. As soon as I put my hands on it I had to have it. This is a picture perfect image of my cat, Whisky, who lives with my Mum and Dad – it’s like looking at her reflection.

My Mum was delighted and the little lady herself even gave it her whisker-twitch seal of approval.

It just goes to show… One person’s sale item is another cross stitcher’s treasure.

So get digging, m’crafters – arghhh!

J x