Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Massive Haul!

Hi Guys :)

I know I haven't updated this in a couple of weeks but it is because I have been on two holidays in a month!  I was away on a girls holiday in Malia and a couples holiday in Paphos.  They were excellent but it did not leave me a lot of time to update my blog!

So I have a stitchy make (for an exchange) to show you but i'll save that for another post.  Just now I am going to show you the stitchy haul I have accumulated over the past few weeks!

As you can see here it is quite a haul!

Now the thread pack you can see in the bottom right and the card making things you can see in the middle of the picture were both from the same place  These were subscription gifts I recieved after subscribing to Cross Sitch Card Shop.  The threads are by DMC (my chosen brand) and the card making kit is a Christmas pack, which will be good for the upcoming holiday!
The three mini kits also came as a gift from the magazine subscription.
The large thread bag in the top left came from eBay.  This was a mixed lot and I was not sure what I was getting.  I managed to get a full bag of threads for approximately £15.  This was such a bargain as a skein in the UK can cost up to £1.09. 
Everything else in the picture was purchased from a store called Draw Write in Ayr.  There is:
  • Red 14 ct aida
  • Green 14 ct aida
  • Plastic canvas (14 ct)
  • Two packets of cards
  • A pen for marking fabric (perfect for gridding as the ink disappears)
Everything from there cost under £15.  I love the red and green aida and it will be great for festive stitching!

I have also purchased a sewing machine!  My first.  It was an offer on Groupon and I got an LS17 Brother sewing machine for £79.  I have never really worked with a sewing machine and I am excited to work with it.  If anyone has any tips I would love to hear them!  I haven't used one of these since high school!
Anyway, I will be doing an update on my stitching in the next few days, so keep an eye out.  Also I have decided to start doing some video tutorials.  I will be starting these in the next few weeks and I will upload them on youtube and link them here.  So keep your eyes peeled!  They will include everything from the basics to move advanced techniques.

Hope you enjoyed this haul post :)

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Cross Stitch Jargon Buster

A lot of people on forums use cross stitching jargon that newcomers to the craft will not understand.  I have been cross stitching for about 15 years and when I joined the online community I had no idea what people were talking about.  What's frogging?  How do you know if you are stitching confetti?  So I thought I'd do a little jargon busting guide that people could look at and get answers to their questions about cross stitching Jargon!


This stands for the cross stitch patterns by All Our Yesterdays.

Artist Trading Card (ATC)

An artist trading card is a small cross stitch design on a small card, normally the size of a playing card.  There are normally exchanges run every month for these types of cards.

Confetti Stitching

This occurs when there are lots of little areas (normally 1-5 stitches) of one colour and you have to keep on changing your thread colour.  This often occurs in more detailed work (such as HAED - see below for what this is!).  The term confetti comes from the fact that the stitches are spread over the fabric, almost as if confetti had been dropped on the aida.


This is an abbreviation for the magazine Cross Stitch Crazy.


This is an abbreviation for the magazine Cross Stitch Card Shop.


This occurs when people get together to exchange cross stitched gifts.  This normally follows a specific theme, such as Christmas or Halloween.  People send their stitched piece, along with a note, to their partner and they also recieve a gift.


Frogging is a term used when a cross stitcher makes a mistake and they are forced to pull out the work that they have done until they fix the mistake.  It is called frogging because you have to 'rip out' the work that you have done and it sounds like a little frog.  You have to RIP IT out RIP IT out RIP IT out.  Sounds quite cute like that!


This is simply an abriviation of the website Heaven and Earth Design.  Heaven and Earth Designs are large, very detailed works that are, in my opinion, absolutely stunning.  They are very intricate works and using only whole cross stitches.  Would be best for a more seasoned cross stitcher!


This is an old cross stitching term and basically means the scraps of thread that are left over from your project.  The ORT stands for Odd Random Threads.


Parking is a unique term in cross stitching but it is not something that everyone does.  Parking refers to the way in which people have multiple needles threaded at once.  People start stitching in one colour and, when they are ready to move on to another, they 'park' the colour and take up a new needle.  Then, when they are ready to come back to the original colour, they can pick it up and start stitching again.  This is not a technique I use personally but it can be very beneficial when you have a large project with lots of confetti stitching!


This is a lovely abbreviation which means Random Act of Kindness.  This happens when someone sends you a random gift, out of the blue, that you were not expected.  Having been the recipient of a RAK, I can say it is a lovelly act and something that people should do more often.

Round Robin (RR)

A round robin is a type of exchange that is organised on a cross stitching forum or website.  In this type of exchange you start stitching a design and then mark out the next sections of the design, depending on how many people are in the Round Robin.  Everyone in the exchange will do this.  You would then forward on your piece to the next person.  At the same time you would recieve another person's stitched piece for you to start on.  When you have done your section, you would then pass it on to the next person.  In these type of exchanges you always send to the same person and always receive from the same person.  In the end your stitched piece will return to you complete!

Stitch Along

A stitch along is again organised on a forum or website.  In this a group of people decide to do the same design at the same time.  They then post pictures online once a week as a form of encouragement.


This is another abbreviation for UnFinished Object.  This refers to any cross stich project that you have started but have not completed (mainly due to picking up another one!)  Unfortunately nothing to do with little aliens! :)


This is an abbreviation that stands for Work in Progress.  This is any project that you are currently working on (note currently working on...otherwuse it's a UFO!)  If you are on cross stitching forums, people will generally use this term when showing pictures of their current work.


This is an abbreviation for the World of Cross Stitching magazine.

Well I hope this jargon buster has been helpful and will help you break through the jargon and get to the real meaning at the bottom. 

Thanks for reading and stay stitchy! x x x

A big gift...slow start!

Hi Guys :)

Well I haven't had much time to stitch this week due to how sleepy I have been!  Working in London (when you come from Scotland) can be quite a pain and this week I have really felt it.

This week I have been working on a present for my boyfriend.  It is a very large piece and I am making very slow progress!  There is a lot of confetti stitching and due to the fact that I am working on black aida, some of the colours make it very difficult to stitch.

The piece is a Star Trek piece (as my boyfriend and I love Star Trek!) and it is a picture of the Voyager ship with 7-of-9 beside it.  It is an extremely large piece measuring 21" by 14" which is a massive 300 x 200 stitches (60000 stitches!)  Now this is probably small to some but it is massive to me!  I know that some HAED designs can be a lot bigger than this but for me this is the biggest work I have ever done! 

This is my progress so far.  I still have a lot to go but it is coming on in leaps and bounds.  My boyfriend thinks i'm 'getting there' but I had to explain the design is roughly ten times her actual head!

This is how the design will look when it's finished.  As you can see, it's a lot of dark blues on a black background.  Not great, but I am sure I will be happy with the finished look!

For anyone who is interested, I got the chart from:

The website is pretty good but I have only used them once.  Just wanted to point out as well that I am in no way affiliated with this website!  This is just something that I have used in the past and, if you are interested in this type of cross stitch, it is a good website to explore.

Also my threads have come from ebay.  I order for a number of thread suppliers so not exactly sure where I got these ones from!

Anyway, I hope you have liked a look at my progress and I hope to put another few blogs up in the coming weeks.

Thanks for reading and stay stitchy! x x x

Monday, 15 July 2013

Exchange Gift Finished!

Well I finally finished my excahneg gift.  There were no rules on what you were to complete, it was just to be in the art nouveau style.  I decided not to put another row of roses at the bottom, which was my original plan, but I thought it looked better the way it was.  I was going to put it onto a canvas but I could not find one that was slim enough!  They really should make various sized canvas....not everyone wants it to be square!

So I went into the local shopping mall and I was looking for some ideas when I came across a recycled notebook.  I'd seen a few examples of notebooks in magazines but I had never attempted it to upcycle one.  However, I thought i'd give it a go.  Here is the result.

I frayed the edges of the aida, taking off roughly four blocks.  To do this simply put your needle into the first hole at the endge of the aida and slowly pull it out bit by bit.  Do one block at a time to ensure that the edges are equal and that you don't warp the fabric.  I got another piece of aida and stitched the word 'notes' in thick string.  I really wanted a chunkier look for the word, which is why I decided to use string.

I tried something new with this piece and that was having a bit of fun with the colours.  The green used to connect the roses was actually a green DMC mixed with a green light effect DMC.  It gave the green a bit of a shimmer which was an effect that I thought was nice for the project.

I hope you guys like it and I hope the recipient likes it!

Keep calm and cross stitch! :p

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Gifts - The Stitchy Way

I don't know about you, but giving people gifts is something I love to do.  Whether it's a little surprise that they didn't expect, or something they have wanted for a long time, I just loving the act of giving and seeing people light up.  I especially love giving stitchy gifts.  I am going to put up a few pics of some of my previous gifts that I have lovingly stitched.  Everyone who I gave them to was so happy to receive them and it's an amazing feeling to see people appreciate your work.

If you have never made a stitchy gift for someone, then now is the time.  The possibilities are endless and you should pick something you are comfortable working with and just go for it.  For beginners, cards can be a quick gift that can be stitched in hours or days and can brighten up a birthday.  For the more experienced stitcher, you may want to make a canvas or a cushion.  Whatever it is, I am sure your friends and family will love it and be amazed at how creative you are.

Here are a few examples of things i've made for people.

This is a phone case that I stitched for my boyfriend.  He loves computer games (as do I!) and it seemed fitting!  He absolutely loved it.  This is something you can pick up from a variety of places.  A warning though: It only comes with three threads.  In the end I decided to use my own DMC threads to make the design.

This beautiful bookmark was a gift that I made for my boyfriends mum.  It was very challenging as there were a lot of colours and some new stitches I had never used before.  I even had to make the toggle at the bottom!  This is an excellent gift but may be better for experienced stitchers.  This came from a kit made by
Dimensions Gold.  It comes in a pack of two but I only ever made one.  I was really pleased how this turned out and I would do it again.

This is the final item I am going to show you.  This was made for my fathers fiance and was from a pattern that I was given as a gift.  I collected the threads myself and it took me quite a while to stitch.  The good thing is, all of the stitches were whole cross stitch!  No French knots, no back stitch...not even a fractional!  I eventually turned this into a framed picture and it hangs on the living room wall.

Well I hope this has given you some ideas of what you can create for your family and friends.

See you soon and stay stitchy! :)

French knots....the cross stitchers nightmare

Now I know the feeling.  You wake up in the middle of the night, screaming and sweating.  You've had another nightmare, and the thing that terrorises you....French Knots.  They chase you in the dream, threatening to come undone or worse, pull through the fabric. 

Now I know that this may sound absurd but there are so many people out there who struggle with French knots and I, myself, have been victim to them.  I learned to cross stitch when I was 8 or 9.  It was a club that the school ran once a week and I got into it.  Then, in primary 6, the teacher gave everyone in the class a cross stitch to do.  I was hooked.  I have been in and out of cross stitching for the next few years when finally, two years ago, I got back into cross stitching in a big way.  I loved it and I have been doing it ever since.

Everything in cross stitch is pretty simple.  Give me half cross stitches, fractionals or even backstitch and I will love it.  But the French knot is something that terrified me.  I have had so many projects with French knots and I had trouble.  My biggest issue is the knot pulling through the fabric and then creating a big mess at the back of the fabric.  A nightmare!

So here is a little picture tutorial on French knots with commentary to ensure your french knots don't turn into a nightmare as well!  If anyone would like me to do a video for this, then let me know and I will film and upload one.

The first step is to bring the thread up through the hole where you are wanting the French knot to be.  In the picture below there is the French knot I made earlier as well as my thread for the new French knot.

The next step is to wrap your thread around your needle a few times.  Now most places will tell you to do this three times.  I tend to do it four, just to ensure that the knot is big enough and that it does not pull through the fabric and create a mess.  This can be difficult to undo if you don't catch it in time, but you can decide how big you want your knot to be and go from there.

Now the next step is to push the needle through to the other side.  I tend to do this in the middle of a block to ensure the French knot takes!  When you first push the needle into the fabric, ensure that you hold onto the thread tight.  Not tight enough to snap it, but tight enough that it is held taught.

Now the picture above does not look taught but it was difficult to show on camera!

Now continue to hold the thread tight as you pull the thread through the fabric.

You should have a nicely formed French knot!  The knot on the left was made with the thread wrapped around the needle three times and the one on the right with the thread wrapped around four times.  Just to give you an idea of a change in size!

Hope this helps and turns your French knot nightmares into a dream!

Have a good day and stay stitchy!

Exchange gift nearly ready!

I have been working on my exchange gift for the last two days and the stitching is almost finished.  I am still not sure what to turn it into and it has to be sent tomorrow (yikes!)  I am thinking I might put it on to a canvas or even just frame it. 

It's an art nouveau exchange and I got the various patterns from a book and put them together.  I think the book is called 101 Cross Stitch Designs.  It has four pages on art nouveau so I just picked a few elements and went with that.  The exchange is run on the forum of so head over there if you want to take part in any exchanges.  The exchanges are excellent and they are really well organised.

Anyway I hope you guys like it and I hope the recipient likes it as well!

Here is the piece when it was first started.

Its almost finished now, as you may be able to tell.  I just have to add leaves to the stems and do another row or roses to the bottom. 

See you guys soon, and have a very stitchy day! :)

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Friend's Graduation

Sorry there have been no post rescently but I have been commuting from Glasgow to London every week and it has been crazy.  Haven't had much time for stitching!

But I thought i'd put this up as I have just recently finished a little card for my friend.

This is the owl card from my friend's graduation.  I was so happy with the finish and it only took me a couple of days.  My friend loved it!  I was so happy as I don't normally give my friends stitched pieces.

Anyway I am going to be doing a bit of a photo blog tomorrow with pics of finished pieces that i have rescently done.  Keep an eye out as there will be quite a few posts coming in the next week!