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Thursday, 5 May 2022

Winter Owl and a Round Flat Finish

 

My latest pattern is now available in Issue #7 of Down the Rabbit Hole. It's called Winter Owl and adds to all the cute owl patterns that I seem to be loving to make at the moment. I just love cute owls and I hope you love them as much as me.

I really like these round designs at the moment and I really wanted to try a new way to finish this pattern. I did some research and figured I would do a round flat finish. I did watch this tutorial and use it as a guide. But I changed it for what I actually had at home. I used cardboard that I had from a box at home. Not the best stuff to use but it was what I had.

I cut out circles of the cardboard and also the wadding that I had. I glued two layers of wadding on one piece of cardboard and one on the other. I just used PVA glue which didn't hold very well but I didn't need it to hold for long.

 I cut out the fabric in circles and did a running stitch around the edge and used that to pull the circles on. You can see what they look like here. It was so quick and easy to get the circles looking great. Much quicker than lacing a square flat finish. (though I still love little pillows!)

I then used a ladder stitch to sew the two parts together. It looked really awesome but the connection wasn't always the neatest. Good thing I planned to put a rope around.


Using my normal glue I glued the rope on and created a loop. I glued the two ends together and hid them behind the top. Though silly me didn't take a photo.

I hope you enjoy this pattern and this gives you ideas of how you can finish it. 

Happy Stitching, 

Caitlin

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Mermaid

 This does feel a little late but I wanted to talk about this awesome pattern. It came about the way most of my patterns appear these days. I was playing with a drawing in my notebook while feeding Hannah and then I realised I HAD to make it happen. So I grabbed out my phone and turned the drawing digital and then into a pattern. Of course it took a few more months than that sentence suggests. I can't go near my computer at the moment without a baby climbing me trying to help me so I am a little bad about making things happen quickly. But that is slowly changing as she becomes more independent and lets me do things.

I love this original drawing. It was just a fun little sketch I did. and I never did finish the drawing properly.


The digital version turned out good too though I think I want to try and work with it one day to neaten it up a bit. I did the bare minimum to give me something to work with to create the cross stitch pattern. I think I will go back in and make it good to distribute as a print itself because it's kinda cute!

While I did design this piece to use metallic thread for over the tail and top you could just use the black thread if you really don't like metallic threads. I do think it adds an awesome aspect but it's not needed. If you do want to use metallic thread use shorter lengths and you'll find it works better.


And just to be exciting this is the first pattern I'm linking to from my new website. Which is scary and exciting all at once. While I will still have some patterns on Etsy I just can't afford to keep paying their fees so I'm in the process of starting up my own website. It will make some things harder and I'm going to have to work on marketing my patterns a bit better but I won't be charged just for the privilege of displaying my patterns. 

So you can find the mermaid pattern HERE if you wish to purchase it. I hope you do like it as much as  I do. It was a lot of fun to design and make. 

Happy Stitching, 

Caitlin




Thursday, 17 March 2022

Starting a Cardigan for Hannah

 I have been fascinated by the hexagon cardigans for the last little while. The way they are constructed is absolutely amazing. The first person to see a hexagon they've made and folded it was amazing! While I haven't used a pattern directly I have used this pattern HERE as inspiration. Maybe when I am done I will write up the full instructions on what I have done particularly to do with fitting to bubs.

So I pulled out my 8ply bendigo cottons to have some fun with this. Figuring a light cotton cardigan is something that is needed right now. Hopefully if I just push through with this one I will get this done quickly. It's also easy to pick up and put down which makes it easier. I also worked out how to walk and crochet yesterday which helped even more! 

For reference I'm using the bendigo 8 ply cotton with my 3.5mm hook. I love how this size hook works with this yarn. It's so gorgeous.

I chose two purples from my stash so I'm doing a striped pattern because I can! Just to add a bit of interest.

In order to walk and crochet I had the yarn in my backpack and was listening to a story as I went. Wednesdays I don't have Hannah with me for the trek to work so I can craft a lot more on the train.

trying to get a photo of my work but I have a bottle on my lap and my hook was stolen because apparently it's yummy??? 


I am excited about this cardigan and I will see what this turns out like or if like so many projects at the moment it ends up forgotten. We shall see!

Happy Stitching, 

Caitlin


 

 

 

 

Friday, 11 March 2022

What do you actually NEED to start cross stitching?

I'm getting this question a lot in my Facebook Group and I wanted to make a post that I can refer back to each time. There is one thing I love about cross stitching and it's that the threshold to enter the hobby is really low. You don't actually need a whole lot to start. Like with all hobbies you can start to fall down rabbit holes and spend quite a bit on luxury supplies and tools but none of that is needed to start. 

So what do you actually NEED to start with?

There are only 3 items you actually need to start with. 

Fabric, Threads and Needle.

That's ALL!! You don't need the 30 gadgets that everyone says you do!

But now I'm going to go into more detail about what fabric etc. and a couple of other items that you may want sooner rather than later. But the entry point for stitching is very low.You truly do only NEED to buy 3 items.

Fabric

What fabric do you need? You will hear people talking about a fabric called 14ct Aida. This is the fabric most commonly used by beginners and beyond. You can find this at all good craft stores. You will also hear people talking about Evenweave fabric but that isn't beginner friendly.

 

Aida fabric has easy to see squares.

If you are looking at getting a younger child into cross stitch I would recommend plastic canvas rather than a fabric. Because you can't pierce the plastic and it's even easier to tell where the holes are. 

Threads

The threads you use for cross stitching are called six stranded cotton. The most popular brand you'll hear about is DMC but Anchor, Madeira and Sullivans are all reputable brands. You don't stitch with all the strands at one time. Usually only 2 strands are used on 14 count fabric but I will talk about this another time. Threads come in many colours and patterns will state which colours you should use. Depending on the pattern you can change it up to suit your tastes or the colours you have available in your stash. Don't believe that you must buy exactly what is written on a pattern though I do recommend that you understand some basic colour theory before changing too much. My most recent pattern the Valentine Owls have two colours for each owl plus eyes and a beak. You could use any available yellow for the beak you just need to make sure that it contrasts enough with the colour you choose for the owl, so too light/dark may not work. But it's also 4 stitches so don't go out of your way to buy the exact shade of yellow!

Needle

A cross stitch needle is usually a blunt tipped needle that is less likely to pierce the threads/fabric in a way you don't want it to. I personally prefer a size 26 tapestry needle. I like the size of these and find the slightly thinner needle easier to hold. I will use a size 28 on smaller count fabrics. A lot of people like the size 24 but I personally find I don't like the way it opens the holes too much. But the thing to remember is the tapestry needle it has a blunt head.

If you are doing a piece with a lot of backstitching I recommend using a sharp needle for this as it helps pierce the threads better which is often needed at that point. 

 

But why haven't you included XYZ on this list?

Ohk as some eagle eyed people may notice I have forgotten to mention a couple of items that most people would deem essential for cross stitching!

Scissors! 

Guess what? You don't need scissors. And you really don't need that $40 pair of cute embroidery scissors. If you have a pair of scissors at home fantastic. If you have nail clippers they work GREAT! (sometimes even better than scissors because they're small.) If you have a dental floss container with the little cutting thing you can use that. Even a kitchen knife, just make sure you wash it first. As long as you have something to cut your thread you are set, you don't need to go all fancy and buy a pair just for cross stitching. If you really enjoy it you may end up with a set especially for stitching because then you are certain of where it has been and always knowing where to find them but you don't NEED this.

Pattern

 I'm sure a lot of people are wondering why I didn't mention that you need a pattern. But the truth is unless you are after a particular picture you don't need a pattern. You can do squares/lines etc to your hearts content. But I also haven't put it down as something you need to purchase because you can find lots of cute patterns for free to test out whether this is something you are really into. I have a few in the files section of my group.  Eventually you will purchase patterns as you find designs that really call to you but you can do a lot without that.

Hoop

I have to use a hoop. Or some sort of frame. I like really tight fabric and when I try to stitch in hand I end up giving myself really bad cramps trying to hold the fabric tight. On the other hand my friend can't stand working with a hoop and just always stitches in hand (means holding the fabric in your hand). Neither is wrong or right they just are. But it's because of this that I won't add a hoop to a must have for anyone. It is entirely your choice. Try without one and see if you like it. Get a cheap wooden hoop and see if that is better for you. If you really like hoops maybe in time try a q snap (I hated q snaps and I don't really know why because others swear by them.) But the point I'm making is this is a very personal choice and you can try a couple of options but you don't need them to start stitching.

 

 
 
Every time I see this question come up so many people try to add their own items to the list. The things that THEY won't stitch without. The thing is these items have been found by them over time and often with a bit of trial and error. Their perfect pair of scissors with the plastic hoop and stand may work for them but probably won't work for you because you sit in a different spot and hold your hands differently so you like these clippers better and stitch in hand because it suits you. Also what you want and like will change over time as well. 
 
I hope this helps you know what you need to start with and I will have to make up a comprehensive list of more accessories that you can get when you are ready.

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin

Friday, 4 March 2022

Floods! and WIPs

We have had a fun few days! I'm not sure how much news has been reported elsewhere but southern Queensland through into NSW has been dealing with a tonne of rain and floods. Not as bad for Brisbane as the 2011 floods but it was still bad. The rain really started for us on Thursday evening, but got stronger and stronger as the weekend went on. We got a years worth of rain in one weekend. Thankfully all my family was safe and sound and all our houses were safe.

I picked up my knitting a bit this weekend and it was great to work on though I had to spend a lot of time moving the yarn away from this little cherub!

This yarn just looks beautiful. It's so nice to have the gorgeous rainbow. It's the stormy sky shawl a pattern I found on Ravelry.


I've also been drawing a lot and I created this Aussie Christmas tree. 


Leaving you with this screenshot of this field next to my work. That is usually a gorgeous green field next to my work. It got just a LITTLE bit wet!


I hope you have stayed dry this week and that you're safe and sound. 

Happy Stitching, 

Caitlin

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