Hello my lovelies, and welcome to another installment of Cross Stitchin' happiness from the Attic. I love writing about my creative endeavors here on my blog as it's really lovely to be able to keep a record of my projects for future reference - a bit of a visual diary I guess.
Cross stitching is still a relatively new hobby for me as I only picked it up in February of this year. You may remember the above Libra zodiac hoop which was my first project and got me totally hooked on the business of making weeny neat crosses into holey fabric. I had no idea that cross stitching would make me so happy, but there is something majorly appealing and addictive about methodically adding colourful little regimented stitches to a plain fabric and seeing a picture slowly emerge. It's like the stitchy equivalent of doing a jigsaw puzzle, I love it so much!
Hot on the heels of the Libra scales, I immediately began a second hoop, this time stitching the Pisces fish which is J's star sign.
I went more slowly with this one throughout March and early April, picking it up in between my crochet projects and other general creative faffery.
I absolutely love these designs, the colours are stunning and there is just the right amount of detail to keep it interesting without it being a fiddle to count and stitch.
Working on black Aida fabric was a challenge, but I think the finished results are totally worth the extra bit of eye strain and needle frustration.
Don't the fishes look good? I love the playfulness of the design very much.
These zodiac pieces were designed to fit neatly into a 6" hoop and I chose to use a 6 inch flexi-hoop (instead of a wooden embroidery hoop) which makes stitching and displaying the finished piece a doddle. The whole thing is so neat, and I really enjoy the finished look of a hoop. It's kind of humble and honest, which I rather like.
You can find all twelve of Jody's zodiac cross stitch designs on Etsy (she designs under the name Satsuma Street) - they are instant digital downloads and I can highly recommend them for newbie cross stitchers.
Libra and Pisces are now both hanging above my bed and I do enjoy seeing them there every day. I think every room in the house should have a little bit of homemade goodness in it, don't you?
During the early weeks of my addiction I spent many obsessive hours trawling through Etsy and Pinterest in search of modern cross stitch designs. I found that I was especially drawn to designs that had a combination of words and flowers (and yes, I have indeed discovered the plethora of *naughty* cross stitch designs out there, oh I have had many big belly laughs over those!)
So for my third cross stitch project I chose the above design. It was the pretty flowers that especially caught my eye, but the sentiment hit home too as I confess that my mornings do always (without exception) contain at least two good coffees. Always.
I briefly contemplated attempting to use the threads I already had to stitch my coffee design, but truthfully that was never going to happen. Ordering the exact right colours to stitch with is a big part of the pleasure for me, and I am enjoying building up a collection of threads almost as much as I'm enjoying the actual stitching. I took some photos of my threads to share with you - more on that in a bit.
I made one change to the colour selection and that was the colour of the mug. In the original design (Zindagi Designs on Etsy) the mug was stitched in black which was a big no-no for me.
Instead I chose a beautiful French Navy (DMC colour 336). Its ridiculously hard to choose thread colours on the computer screen (there are around 500 DMC thread colours, with 66 blues to choose from!!). I needed the shade to be quite dark in order for the cream coloured words to show up well, and after much deliberating I think I chose well.
Stitching the blue mug was my least favourite part of this design, especially as I mis-counted when stitching the handle and had to carry out a fair bit of emergency stitch removal. I was so excited to finish with the navy and get started on the flowers.
I made a tonne of mistakes stitching those blooms as I got completely in a muddle with all the different shades of red and pink. But shhhhh, lets not talk about that. Lets just focus on the fact that overall, they look very, very pretty indeed.......
The above photo shows the finished design, but to my mind the flowers looked a little bit flattened at the top of the hoop. I think the design was made to fit in a square mount rather than in a circular hoop (which would explain the flattened out florals), so after a lot of procrastination I decided to tweak it a little.
I printed out some graph paper and had a little doodle with some pens, copying some of the flowers and leaves from the original design and having a play around. In the end though, I got impatient and decided to wing it and just go straight in with needle and thread.....
.....adding a few blue and pink flowers with some brown twiggy bits and a few leaves here and there.
I think I did OK?
Not too much, just enough extra detail to add some height at the top of the design.
Awwwww, so, so pretty!
After weeks of stitching, the oatmeal coloured fabric was looking a weeny bit grubby, so once I'd finished all the stitching I gently washed the whole thing in some warm soapy water. I used a towel to soak up as much of the water as I could, then ironed the fabric on the reverse side (placing the fabric face down on the towel to keep the stitches from being flattened) to remove all the crinkles. I left it to dry completely over night before stretching it out in the hoop and finishing off the edges.
I'm absolutely thrilled with the finished hoop, both the stitching journey and the finished piece have made me very happy indeed.
Now then, I think I need to show you my threads, if you'd like to see them?
They please me on soooooo many levels!!!
Oh, the colours (imagine me swooning!)
A collection of colourful yarn/threads is the perfect definition of creativity waiting to happen, and I absolutely LOVE the visual stimulation they provide. I get a real buzz out of looking at these three little drawers - yes, they are indeed drawers, aren't they neat?
I got the storage idea from Lolli and Grace, convincing me that this was a better option than winding all my threads onto little plastic bobbins. I really dislike the kinks that appear in floss that's been wound onto bobbins (they encourage knots which drive me wild), so I went searching for some suitable drawers and fell in love with this simple clear acrylic type.
They are designed with stationary/cosmetics in mind and come in all sorts of sizes and configurations. If you are searching out something similar online, my advice would be to check the scale/measurements carefully - a skein of DMC thread measures around 155 mm so make sure any drawers or containers will be long enough/wide enough.
I bought these ones on Amazon, and am thrilled with how they work for the purpose of not only storing my threads, but allowing me to see them on display too....
....oooooo, so smooch-worthy and delicious in every way!
The other thing I bought and have found really useful are these thread organiser cards. At the start of a new stitch project, I like to cut a length of each colour and separate it into two strands ready for stitching. The designs I've worked so far change colours often, and this method makes it easy to grab a length of the right colour just when I need it.
So that pretty much brings me up to date with my stitching journey, four months in and still overwhelmingly loving it all. I haven't decided where to hang my Coffee hoop yet, although I think I might take it down to the studio as I have a feeling it would look gorgeous hanging on my blue wall. And the coffee at Coopers Cafe is a bit of a special treat for the taste buds (for coffee lovers out there, Coopers serves Grumpy Mule coffee, oh it is divine!)
My next project is the above design by Tiny Modernist, already purchased and downloaded, and a delicious pale grey Aida fabric stretched in my 8" hoop ready. I'm just waiting on my threads to arrive in the post...I know, more threads to add to my drawers.
What's a girl to do when the creative urge is so strong?