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!

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Bargain Book…

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I was searching for a birthday present on The Book People website and I always look around in the sale for books I might like for myself. I found this book from Dorothy Wood for less than £2 so I thought I would have a look.

There are some nice patterns inside although I would say quite a few are not to my taste. However, I did find inspiration in some of the designs and there are some interesting pages of advice which made it a worthwhile purchase.

I like the Indian Mobile, although I probably wouldn’t make a mobile but rather stitch the elephant and peacock designs and hang them on my peg ribbon.

I left my peg ribbon up from last Christmas, I use it to peg my cards onto it but I thought I would use it throughout the year to hold small cross stitch designs that I like. The idea being I could keep changing and adding to them as the seasons and my inspiration allows.

I started with some cross stitched Christmas themed decorations and it looked nice but since then sadly all I’ve found is design inspiration with no time to make any of them. I will get round to it one day and if not I can always pin my Christmas ones up again in a few months!

Current Projects…

Ok so lets see. I get so scatter brained at times with all my current projects, as shiny new magazines appear with exciting designs that are perfect for something coming up, I end up getting side tracked.

I currently have to finish a crochet needle bag for my Mum and the ‘Birdcage’ art deco design. They were both supposed to be Mother’s Day presents (which was in March) so I’m only a little bit past that deadline! She has seen both works in progress so she knows they are almost there. I’m about half way through on the needle bag and I’m finishing the accentuation on the woman and need to finish the birdcage for the art deco design.

I’m also working on a winter scene of the Houses of Parliament, which if I’m honest I started years ago and it got put on hold until I completed a Mr Men A-Z, a winter chalk board design and an advent calendar. I’m finishing the bottom half of the design off now. I realised that somewhere along the lines when I was more inexperienced, I managed to make a couple of errors and although the design will look fine in the end it is taking more time to complete.

That brings me to my most recent starter. I couldn’t think what to get my Nan for her birthday so I decided to buy a frame and knock up a design following something I had seen in a magazine. The pattern is for a house with people in the doors and windows. As I started it on the 18th June and her birthday is the 23rd June I knew I wouldn’t complete the house so I put one of each family member in the corner and stitched my Nan and Grandad in the middle. Only I had to change 4 of the plans to look more like us. I now have most of the people complete, just finishing Grandad and then I have to work out how to fill the rest of the space. I’m thinking travel tags from places she has been and flowers to brighten it up.

As she has Alzheimer’s Dementia I wanted to help her remember us, she hasn’t forgotten us yet but she gets a bit confused with names. I thought having this in front of her might help. I did buy her a small present to open on the day and I hope to have the design finished for when I see her this weekend. Fingers crossed! I’ll post a picture when I am done.

I think that is pretty much everything I’m currently working on. I’ve made a pact with myself that I won’t start anything new until I have finished what I’m working on so I can start a fresh.

I brought a sewing machine bag in Hobby Craft to organise all my magazines and cross stitch kits that I have in my wardrobe so hopefully that will help to organise me a bit. I know I have quite a few freebie kits from magazines and a few that I have brought in the sales that are waiting for me. Together with post it marked designs in numerous magazines so I know I’m not going to get bored anytime soon!

I can’t be the only one who is disorganised with their stitching and flits about between designs!

Making Money From Cross Stitch and Crafting…

I was wondering if anyone out there had advice on selling their craft work. I have been told by different people that I should look to sell some of the things that I have made for their kids as they know people who would like them but I don’t really know where to start.

I have a list of ideas for new designs I would like to try out as I’m not sure if you can sell things you have made from published designs, I maybe wrong. But I have no idea where to start in terms of making these designs into cross stitch patterns.

I know if I could make them into a pattern there are websites I can advertise them on so that people could download and make them for themselves. I could also look at selling the designs to magazines as well but I have never used cross stitch pattern software.

I downloaded a couple of free trials of software but on quick looks I was unable to figure out how to use them. I guess I need to work through the tutorials and see if they are workable.

I would be prepared to pay for a full version of software if it was useable to create my designs. I can draw something into a pattern that I would understand to create but something other people can follow is different.

I would also be interested in any books or websites people might have found helpful.

Selling crafts is something that my Mum would like to do when she retires and I have been looking at different options that she is interested in. I just thought I would throw it out to the internet to see what works in the real world.

Ideally we would like to build up a bit of stock and then look at having an online store or attending craft fairs. We went to one earlier in the year that was interesting at the ExCel and we are going to another one in September at Hampton Court Palace which will hopefully give us more of an idea.

Any help or advice would be appreciated. If anyone could recommend any good craft shops or craft fairs in London or surrounding areas that would also be great. We might travel further if it was something that was a must see!

Anyone come across pitfalls of selling or problems with getting insurance etc.?

Thanks a lot, and hopefully I’ll be able to get to know some of you a little better… Charlie.