Anchor Victorian Sampler

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I liked the idea of stitching a sampler to work on different styles all in one piece. I found this sampler in a sale a couple of years ago and decided to add it to my collection.

I liked the use of colours and how they fitted well together and found the design easy to stitch.

I think I need to work on using frames more to help with holding the design whilst stitching. I have some wooden bars that can be adjusted in size and slid together to create frames but nothing big enough to hold a design of this size.

I keep thinking it would be nice to have a floor standing frame but at present I don’t have the space for it. Maybe one day I will. It would be nice to have a room dedicated to crafting with good lighting and storage.

Until then I’ll have to carry on as I am either rolling the fabric or using some sort of framing.

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Threads…

I’ve been working on my own designs for a little while now, it’s a good way to make use of my sewing box full of threads.

It made me think, looking through the box for a particular colour the other day. I have so many threads of different thickness, age, condition, some branded, some non-branded from cheap sets but to me they are all equal.

I have brought specific threads for magazine projects I wanted to complete but then I look in my sewing box and think, ‘why don’t you use what you have already’?

I have threads that were my Aunts (who died when I was 3) and my Mums from when she stitched years ago, I have threads that were brought for me and I buy a lot of threads. Especially when I see a nice colour I would like to work with or a good price reduction.

I have enough thread in my box to make hundreds of designs and I keep buying more, it really is like an obsession!

I’m making a needle bag for my Mum and instead of buying the threads from the pattern I decided to do it wholly from threads that I have in my sewing box.

I’m working on some Christmas decoration designs and a stocking advent calendar and I will use all my own threads for that too.

I realised that my Aunt would love to know I carried on stitching with her tools and by using her threads in my work she comes along with it. I used some of it in the design I made for my Nan and it was nice as they were very good friends.

Plus the more I use it up the more room I have to buy new threads!!

I’m not sure that all threads are created equal. The modern DMC and Anchor threads are so easy to work with but I find when you use an older thread or a cheap version you find it can frey, break more and isn’t so easy to untangle.

I have brought some colour thread packs from the pound shop before, 20 nicely coloured skeins in a pack for £1, how could I not buy them! I haven’t tried to work with them yet but I’m sure they’ll be fine.

Maybe once I use up all my old and non-branded skeins I will treat myself to one of those DMC or Anchor complete sets that come in wooden drawers and start my threads afresh!

Design Works: Bird Cage

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I started this as a Mother’s Day present for my Mum and I finished it 2 weeks ago so it was a few months late. She knew it was coming though so it was fine. It always takes you much longer to complete a project than you expect it will, at least it does in my experience!

It was probably one of the most adventurous designs I have worked on to date. I found working with so much silver thread a challenge. It was a course thread to work with and shard quite a lot, I’m used to using softer threads.

I ran out of two colours and had to contact Design Works for replacements. They were very helpful and sent plenty of thread replacements so I could complete the design.

I have never had to attach beads or embellishments before so that was a new skill to learn. The beading around the neck made it impossible to include the glass in the frame once I mounted it.

It was the first time I had framed a piece of work in this way. I found it difficult to iron out all of the creases and stretch the fabric around the back board of the frame evenly to ensure it sat right. I’m quite clumsy with stuff like that as I don’t have much patience, I just want to get it over with.

In the end I think it came out well. My mum is interested in art deco at the moment, I hung the cross stitch on the wall near her other picture cards and it fits in well. What I like about it is from a distance you can’t tell that it is cross stitch, you only notice when you are closer to it.

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Christmas Advent Calender

I saw this design in a magazine and wanted to make one for my cousin’s little girl. I showed it to my brother’s girlfriend and she started making one for her relative so we raced each other to finish.

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It wasn’t easy to find the right material and it would help if the magazine gave you some idea of how to put it all together. Luckily my Mum is a dab hand at sewing so we both left her to sew the designs together and we just made the patches.

I over sewed the ends of the stitching to top it from fraying as I didn’t want it to unravel. I also added a 25th day at the very top, big enough to put in 3 mini chocolate figures as I like a 25 day advent calendar. I had a mixture of sweets in the pockets and she loved it. Her Mum and Dad wanted their own versions and were very jealous!

If you want to make your own advent calendar you can find the design in Cross Stitch Crazy Magazine November 2015.

Ice Skates Winter Design

I saw this design in a magazine and really wanted to make a start on it whilst I was on holiday last year as I knew you needed bright light for working on black Aida. I happened to have a piece of Aida big enough from a kit I have yet to start of a cat on a book shelf so I just borrowed it from there.

I changed a couple of the colours from the original design to lessen the amount of green as I don’t like green but I think I should have stuck to the original.

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I need to find a frame for it so I can hang it this winter now it is finished. I might just use some pieces of wood painted white and some string to make it look more like a blackboard. The colours in the photo don’t really do it justice, it is darker than the camera seems to have picked up.

You can find the design if you want to make it yourself in The World of Cross Stitching Magazine Issue 222.

 

Special Design For My Nan

I have been working on pulling together a design for my Nan for a little while now. I kept seeing cute elements in various magazines and I wanted to pull them all together to make a really special design.

My Nan has Alzheimer’s and as such her memory is falling very quickly. She doesn’t remember where we have been and doesn’t always know who we are so I started with putting us all on the design. From the top left is my Mum, Me, My Sister and Brother with my Nan and Grandad in the middle.

Then I wanted to do the travel tags of all the places we had been together on holidays. New York was a special one as they took me there for my 21st birthday.

Then we got to the point where she started to give up eating and drinking so I added in some encouragement as I had read in the Dementia book that was good.

Next I saw some London designs and thought it needed a touch of her home town. She used to travel on buses and trains all the time but doesn’t get about as much anymore.

Lastly I added a strip of flowers to give it a touch of colour and outdoors about it.

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I was pretty happy with the way it all came out in the end. I tried hard to get the spacing equal but it was my nemesis yet again!

I have put together a list of the magazines where I got the elements from in case anyone wants to use them in their own work:

Samplers Cross Stitch Favourites Spring 2016 – People

Cross Stitcher Magazine June 2016 – Travel Tags

Cross Stitch Crazy Magazine August 2016 – Lettering

Cross Stitch Crazy Magazine October 2015 – London Roundel and Bus

Cross Stitch Crazy Magazine July 2016 – Flowers

Birthday Cards

A friend of mine mentioned some of her friends might be interested in unique designs, so I thought birthday cards would be a good way of show casing this. I had two special September birthday’s coming up and some ideas of designs for birthday cards so I thought I would give it a go.

The first was for my very special friend who was turning 25. I could see his name written in balloons tied to a table weight so I tried to recreate it as best as I could in stitching.

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I don’t think I did too bad a job! I need to think more about spacing out the design to make it look better. I really like the colour scheme, I think it works well together. Maybe I need to work a bit more on getting the shaping of the balloons more uniform. But all in all I was pretty happy with the design.

Then it was on to my cousin’s little girl who turned 5 this week. My first attempt was to create a cupcake with a silver 5 candle coming out the top and a sign saying off to school. But I couldn’t for the life of me make the design for a cupcake to look like a cupcake. I didn’t want to cheat and look in a magazine as I wanted it to be all my own work. So onto idea number 2!

Whilst walking in the park a little while ago I had a vision of seeing the letters falling down a slide and as she is still young I thought I would give it a try. I also wanted to incorporate the fact she is starting school somehow.

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It wasn’t easy to recreate a slide and figure out how to set the lettering. I could draw it easily in bubble letters on a piece of paper but translating that into stitching was hard. I had a look at her new school colours online but couldn’t see any mention of a book bag but went with it anyway.

It was funny picking her up from school and seeing her coming out with her yellow trimmed in brown book bag. I wished again, I had spaced it a bit better as it sort of looks disjointed. I’m pretty happy with the way the slide came out, although getting the stairs to look right was tough. I think it needed the stretch of grass to set it off nicely.

Both were very happy with their designs. I was happy, pretty much, with what I made although I would like to be able to make them look a bit more professional. All in all I don’t think they were bad first attempts at stitching birthday cards.