Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Happy New Year! Next Year's Goals

I didn't set any major goals for myself last year and I think I regretted it as I haven't had anything much to strive for because of it.  So as the year draws to a close I am reflecting on my progress and setting goals for next year. Because next year is going to be my best year yet!

What did I achieve this year?

I did a tonne of stitching and did some awesome finishes. This one isn't finished but I dragged out Baroque again and I have been working on it slowly. Though in the Christmas crazy it got put to the side again!


I did this cute little pattern and finished it up for my nephew who graduated this year.


And I think my proudest two finishes for this year and the Accountant or Magician and my Squat girl! The Accountant one is sitting pride of place at work and my squat girl is still waiting to be finish finished BUT I LOVE THEM! They were a new design style for me and everything about them just worked. They were based off drawings I did and I just love how they turned out!


This one is my favourite :D


So there are my awesome stitching finishes but I also had some other awesome finishes. I decided this year to knuckle down and put the time and effort into working on new designs and promoting my shop. And it's paid off. While I am still only small I am seeing a difference in the customers and the traffic through and the interest in my patterns. It has been a big boost. So I have lots of plans and goals for the coming year.



Stitching and Design Plans

 The main designs that I have plans to finish are the Deadlift and Bench pictures. I have the pictures drawn and digitised I just need to sit down and do the work to turn them into cross stitch patterns. The hardest part is making sure that the widths and lengths are the same as the squat girl so they look part of a set. 

I also a few more patterns that are sitting half completed or partially finished that I will be looking to release in the new year. So expect a big influx of pattern in January as I sort through and release a lot just to get them out of my archives!

Honestly that is my main design plan to get a better collection or patterns so there are many there for everyone's tastes.

Also in the new year I am looking at doing another Stitch a long this one finishing with instructions to finish your stitching as a flat finish. Which is a useful and pretty finish.

On the stitching front I plan to stitch a few other designs but the main thing I want to do is seriously participate in a crafteveryday! I LOVED doing inktober this year and it was great to have something to show for each day. So I am changing it up. FOR EVERY DAY IN 2020 I WILL DO SOMETHING CRAFTY!


So share this image above and join me in a craft a long experience. It will be challenging but I will count drawing, knitting, crochet, sewing and cross stitch or anything crafty! I just want to keep making everyday! It can be 5 stitches or it can be 100 but every little bit counts. You can post daily, weekly or monthly about this but it's about reminding yourself to enjoy that time to create no matter what.

What do you think of my goals? Do you think you would join me in the craft along?

Happy Stitching and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Caitlin

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Snowman and Christmas Designs

It's been 38+ degrees over the weekend and I was hiding out in the Air con for as much of it as possible. That led to me wanting to make this little pattern.

So I feel happy to introduce you to my little snowman!


This design is the same size as my normal Christmas characters and I also wanted to tell you about the Christmas sale going on at the moment! 

ALL MY CHRISTMAS PATTERNS ARE 20% OFF including this newest one. This sale is for the month of December! So if you are in need of a quick little present now is your chance!

www.etsy.com/shop/naughtscrossstitches

I hope you enjoy these patterns :D
Happy Stitching, 
Caitlin



Saturday, 7 December 2019

Where to get Free or Cheaper Patterns

 


After the post from yesterday I wanted to talk about the places you CAN find free or cheaper patterns from designers to stitch. You don't always need to spend a lot of money to still support the designs. We don't all have a lot of money and cross stitch doesn't need to be an expensive craft. (honestly one of the most expensive parts is the framing which is why I rarely frame my finished pieces!)

So some places I have found cheap or free patterns are as follows:
  • On the Designer's facebook page or in their special group. I've managed to pick up a tonne of free patterns this way and I keep up to date with new releases and sales going when I'm interested in picking up a few more patterns when I have the money. 
    You can find my facebook group here and yes you will find exclusive free patterns there that you can't find anywhere else. But I also am a member of a number of designer groups and have a pile of free patterns from most of them!

  • On the designer's blog. I know this is becoming less popular but you can find a lot on their blogs also any social media they use like instagram. I have a few patterns that I've released on this blog for free! Some cross stitch and a couple of knitting/ crochet ones as well. A summary of my freebies can be found here
     
  • Cross Stitch magazine/designer/manufacturer websites. DMC have a tonne of free designs on their website and so does the world of cross stitching magazine. Look around and see what is available and you will be surprised. There is a lot out there you just have to look and these have all been provided with the designers permission.
So these ones above are the free patterns but also follow the designer groups/pages/instagrams/email lists etc. to see if there is a special or new freebie that is being released.

Outside the free patterns on the internet where else can you go?
  • Libraries - they don't have a full collection of every book/magazine available but particularly if you ask for it you may find them willing to start getting them in. It's a great way to find designers and see the patterns and to find ones you can work on. 
     
  • Thrift stores - it's amazing what you can find at these! Keep looking at these and garage sales and you will be surprised. 
     
  • destash or buy/sell groups - all sorts of interesting prizes can be found in these.

Also don't discount buying a couple of magazines. They come with 70+ patterns in them and that is hours of amusement and enjoyment. You don't have to buy a tonne of magazines to enjoy.
 
My local newsagent has a collection of the little freebie kits for cheap as well. When they send back unsold magazines they're not required to send back the little kits that come with them so they often keep them and sell them for $1. I once got a booklet of patterns and two madeira metallic threads for $1 so go check out if your newsagent does that? 

None of these ways hurt the designers. None of these ways harm anyone else and if you're out there stitching their designs whether a free one or not you are helping the designers keep their name out there. So please share below your favourite ways or designs you have found around and about.

 Happy Stitching, 
Caitlin
 

Friday, 6 December 2019

Cross Stitch Patterns and Sourcing them Legitimately





There has been a spate of posts in face book groups talking about copyright and where you can find charts for free. Unfortunately, we are seeing too many comments from people in the groups recommending ways to get charts/kits cheap or free from aliexpress, wish or pinterest. I want to talk to you about the impact of these options and the REAL free options that are out there for you.

As most of you know I’m a designer. I draw and make cross stitch patterns from my drawings. Although I don’t make a living from my designs it helps to keep things happening and covers the costs of keeping the craft and designs coming out to you. But there are those that do make a living from their art. Whether it is the prints themselves or the patterns the money they get from you is money they need to function and keep producing. I’m not telling you this to say you must go and buy from people but to make it known that if you LOVE a design enough to follow the artist and to want to spend the time stitching it isn’t it better to know that the money you are spending is going back to the artist that designed the pattern and not to someone else that just took the design? If you want them to continue, then being aware of where the patterns and designs come from is important. 

So how do you tell? How do you know that you are supporting the designer and not someone who has just taken the pattern?

Where did you find the pattern/kit?


What website did you find the pattern on? If you have sourced the pattern or kit through ali express or wish there is a high chance that the original designer of that pattern is NOT the one that you have found the pattern through. Or if the design is of a piece of art there is a high chance that the art hasn’t been licensed to the person who has created the design. Aliexpress have it as a seller policy not to have branded items which will often mean that the designs are stolen.

If you found a chart on Pinterest? Who designed it? Does it link to the designer’s blog/group if so, it is likely to be a proper pattern that has been shared by the designer as a freebie. But if it doesn’t link anywhere or it links to one of those annoying image posts on a random website there is a high chance that the design is not theirs to share. You can often find a lot of cross stitch patterns shared from magazines. I can find full charts from many magazines and other places. Does this make pinterest bad? No it doesn’t! I use it constantly to search and find patterns and ideas on how to do techniques and finishes. I have a business pinterest page that I maintain. I go out of my way to make sure that I don’t share the random charts but I do share the pictures of patterns and links to charts that I am interested in. It’s about being a conscious consumer and not just blindly following because you can.

Is it a full coverage piece of art?



There are only a few designers that have the rights to reproduce a person’s artwork as a cross stitch. If you purchase any Heaven and Earth Designs pieces they always source the art from the artist and have the permission of the artist to turn it into cross stitch. This is the same for websites such as Charting Creations, Artecy and many others. They will have some information on the website as to whether they have the permission of the artist to reproduce the work as a cross stitch pattern. If you can’t find anywhere it says with the permission of the artist and you can’t find legitimate reviews about the site outside of the website be wary. Ask around and find out if they are actually legitimate.

How do you receive the pattern?

This one is one I’ve come in contact with before and one that I find is a big teller. You will rarely find a legitimate pattern (unless it is linking directly back to a designers blog) in the form of an image! You just won’t! So if you have found an image of a pattern on pinterest and it’s in jpg or png form … highly likely that it’s been photographed from a magazine or somewhere else and shouldn’t be shared in that form. The other way is does this designer even offer their patterns as PDFs? If it’s not available as a PDF normally but you find it somewhere that you can download it digitally … that is a big red flag. Designers like Inkcircles and Stoney Creek and Joan Elliott don’t sell their patterns as PDFs, you can buy their patterns from online sellers but you will get a physical copy of the pattern. So if you find these patterns out and about as PDFs they are definitely illegal.

 How do you know you're doing it right?

It’s about doing your research and knowing the designers that are out there and getting to know the people and the ways that they share their patterns. Any legitimate designer will be out there talking about their patterns they will answer questions if you ask them. They will talk about where they get their ideas or their patterns. They won’t hide. If the source doesn’t come from the designer the website should still be able to give you proof that they source their products legally. I’m not saying just because you like a design you must go and buy it from that designer now. All I’m saying is if you like a design enough to stitch it make sure you have sourced it from the people that matter because if you don’t they won’t be around later to keep making those designs that you love because people stealing from them will have put them out of business long before this! 

This is important that we support those who help us enjoy our craft because without them we don't have a craft! 

Happy Stitching, 
Caitlin


This has ended up longer than I was expecting I will do another post that I'm writing at the moment with the ways to source cheaper or free patterns in a way that doesn't hurt the designers.





Monday, 2 December 2019

Baroque by Inkcircles

I know you guys haven't seen this project for WAAAY too long a time! I really am very naughty and don't bring it out enough. BUT I have a goal for this one. I intend to finish this one in the next year. It is easily doable all I need to do is actually keep focusing on it.

Just last weekend I managed to finish half of one of the squares though I had an overly productive weekend. There was a local cross stitch meetup so I spent most of the day Saturday stitching and then a fair amount of time on Sunday as well. It has also been the only project I've been working on at night so it's been getting a great bit of love.

I'm hoping to finish the square I'm currently working on sooner rather than later and then work out how to make this project a priority.


So without further ado here are some progress pics. Not the best but I struggle to get good photos at the moment. I think it's the sparkly fabric and the lighting. 
 

This one is showing off more of the sparkly fabric. It just makes me smile to work on it.


But these two books have just recently come out and I've managed to get my hands on them soooo.... see me in a couple of weeks once I've finished reading them a couple of times!

Though I was in a random mood on the weekend and instead of reading I cleaned and sorted my bookshelves. I've been like this for a couple of weeks it's like I can't sit and enjoy right now when the areas are an absolute mess!

Anyway I hope you enjoyed the update it's great to actually be working on this again. 

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin


Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Black Friday Sale 2019

For once in my blogging/pattern making life I have actually joined in the Black Friday pattern sale mania.

You can get all my patterns from now until the 4th of December for 25% off when you buy 2 or more.  This includes all bundles as they also count as one pattern.

SHOP LINK!

On top of this there will also be special sales throughout the weekend so keep an eye out for them. They will be advertised on my instagram and in my facebook group so keep your eyes peeled!

I hope to see you joining in the Sale fun :D

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin 

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Graduation Teddy Bear

Ohk I know I'm a week late for those that are graduating in Queensland but it was my Nephew's graduation last Friday and on Saturday I decided to make something special for him. 


Cue this little cutie the GRADUATION BEAR you can find it by following the link. I adapted my Teddy Bear pattern to add a cap and gown so they are all ready to graduate. There are two ways to do the cross stitch tassel on the top of the cap, I like where you make a special tassel and I've included instructions with the pattern.


To make it even more awesome I actually stitched it up AND finished the cross stitching. I created this cute little pillow below :D This truly is one of my favourite ways to finish my stitching. It is so quick and easy and such a great way to display your piece.


You can purchase this pattern 

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin

Friday, 22 November 2019

Friday Finds: Does a frying pan work?

I'm a bit of a disney fan, anyone that knows me knows this. I love the movies and can sing most of the music word perfect!

I have always wondered if a frying pan would actually work in the way that it does in tangled and now I have an answer!!


So in case you needed to know please watch this awesome video about the logistics of a frying pan as an actual weapon!

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin

Monday, 18 November 2019

Two Girls Cross Stitch

New Pattern out now!




Towards the end of last month I was requested to do a custom design of two girls and instead of hiding them away I made sure that I could share this design with you.

These special characters are designed to represent two of the teacher aides in her child's classroom. But I could see how easy it would be to adapt these to represent a lot of different women. I made them so that the heads would be interchangeable between the two girls. You can change the skin colours and play with all the different combinations of colours available to make a character that looks like the person you want it to.

I hope you enjoy this new pattern and that it becomes something that is useful and cool for you to adapt and play with.



To purchase it for yourself you can find it here

Happy Stitching,

p.s. Don't forget to vote for me :D






Monday, 11 November 2019

What makes a Counted Cross Stitch kit good?



I happened to be at lincraft this week... actually happened to be there a couple of times and I was eyeing off all the kits because there are some pretty ones there. Didn't end up buying any as I have too many already... I don't need to be tempted! On the second visit I was there with my friend and she is new to any crafts so I've got her starting with my Christmas Owl Wreath Stitch A Long.

When we were looking at items she had one question.

What makes a good beginner kit? Why is one better than another and how do I tell!?


It can get very overwhelming when you are staring at all the possibilities out there and you're trying to work out what will work best for you. There is an aisle full of kits but will the actually work? Will you achieve what you want to do or will you just crash and burn if you try?

Disclaimer: Most of these photos are of dimensions kits, this is not an advertisement and I'm not saying these kits are better or worse than others it's just what was available at the store for me to photograph to share with you. I personally have done some dimensions kits and love them and have hated others and it's more to do with the design than the quality of the kit itself.

1. Size

To start with lets talk size. The bigger the piece the harder it will be. Not necessarily because it will be difficult to stitch but because the bigger the piece the longer it will take you to finish. The longer it takes to finish the more likely you are as a beginner to lose motivation. It does not mean that you can't do it just that you are more likely not to, particularly if you haven't come into cross stitching from another craft.


While kits like these above are beautiful, unless you have the right level of motivation they are much harder to do because they take so long. And when you are not used to handling larger fabrics and you don't have the frames it can get confusing and overwhelming. That is something you don't want! On top of that there is a lot involved in keeping track of a bigger piece and making sure that you don't get lost, it's not impossible but as a beginner it's not necessarily a challenge you want to take on yet.

What you want are kits like the ones below:


The first picture are some very simple kits. They are a great starting point as they have a few colours and a simple picture. This second lot of kits are a little harder, they're a bit bigger but they are still doable in a reasonable time. At only 5x7inches it's the size of a normal photo frame and while they have a lot more colours they are still on the smaller side.

2. Threads

Now this is a small thing but something that comes up again and again in the groups. Some kits lump the threads all together and you have to sort them out. Some like dimensions are really nice.


This is the hang in there pattern and as you can see the threads are all beautifully separated and labeled and you don't have to do any of the work with that. This is not make or break but it is something to be aware of. Take a look at the kit you're buying and read reviews of that brand and how they organise the threads also what brand of threads they use.

Dimensions uses their own threads, and while previously they have been known to send replacement threads out if you run out they have also sometimes just sent a DMC conversion chart.
Other kits will use Anchor threads or DMC. Knowing what brand threads the kit uses is important if you don't like the feel of those threads or if you were to run out of a colour you can't replace them easily and quickly. Just something to think about.

3. Difficulty

Now I don't know if other brands have this or not but I know that dimensions has this group of patterns called the gold collection. PLEASE be aware of these ones! They are NOT easy patterns. Even the petite ones are difficult and are definitely intermediate to advanced. They have a lot of colours and  a variety of different stitches. Again if you really want to do them I'm not stopping you but do go into these patterns with your eyes open.


This angel design above is small and would fit into the size recommendation but because it is one of the gold collection it has a lot of different kinds of stitches. This will take as long to finish as a bigger piece that has less complicated stitching.
As a beginner yo u

(bonus) Other Kits

Now this is something that I almost fell into ... amidst the patterns for counted cross stitch were a couple that were not.


This was right amongst the counted cross stitch patterns but it is a needlepoint pattern. Not wrong but do be aware that they can be placed together as this is a different fabric and a different technique. Still beautiful and I really was tempted to buy this one for the pretty design!
 

Also you have kits like these ones. They are stamped cross stitch where the pattern is stamped onto the fabric. I personally don't like them but they are another way to get into cross stitching.

I hope this has been useful to you and that it helps you next time you want to purchase a kit from the store.

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin

P.s. don't forget to vote for me :D


Friday, 8 November 2019

Mini Owl Finish

So I'm not sure why I did this... but this is so small and mini!

I used one of my mini owl patterns that you can get here. I did this with 1 strand over 1 on 28ct Evenweave.


 You can see it next to my thumb... it is so cute! I'm not sure what I am going to do with it or how I am going to finish it but I just needed to do it!


Just a fun little finish to share with you today.

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin

Thursday, 7 November 2019

The answer to #WhyImake


Since I got nominated for the Crafties at Lovecraft one thing that I have been thinking about was how to answer this question.


Why do I make? 

It's not a simple answer. It's not a simple question. When I was 9 years old I had some dolls and I wanted to make them all special blankets and I asked my mum to make them for me. She said no, I won't do that BUT I will give you a crochet hook and some yarn and teach you how to crochet ones for yourself. And there the obsession started. I made little blankets and clothes for my dolls, then I went and begged my grandma to teach me to knit.

As I grew up I explored all sorts of different crafts. I spent a few years doing beadwork until I got WAAY too frustrated with constantly having to pick up seed beads from the floor. I am too much of a klutz to be trusted with beads. But even then I was designing. I would create my own pictures and creations and had an absolute ball. Below is one of my finished pieces. I think this was meant to be part of a set of earrings but ... it didn't quite go as planned.



As I grew older my tastes changed but one thing that never changed was my need to create with my hands. I have always been restless when sitting still and whenever I would have some craft or another in my hands I would feel instantly better. I would sit in lectures at uni (and still do) with my cross stitch or knitting or something to keep my hands busy while my head could listen to what was happening. This below is a very common post for me!



But that is only part of the story... it answers some of the question but not all. Why make? There are many things I could do with my hands to keep them busy, including playing with those annoying fidget gadgets. So why do I feel compelled to make?

It's really easy. I love to see the finished pieces. I love being proud of what I have achieved. I enjoy looking at my walls and seeing my artwork. Whether in the form of a painting or on the form of my cross stitch. I love to use my work too. So every year at Christmas I always hang my special handmade ornaments up on the tree because it means something. I love to finish my pieces just as much as I love to stitch. I have a piece I did on the wall at work and every time I walk past it just makes me smile.When I wear clothes that I made for myself it makes me happy and I like to do things that make me happy.



On top of this I love to share my creations with everyone. I am someone who needs to know what I'm talking about and understand what I'm doing so when I first got into cross stitch I researched and found out as much as I could. Now I like sharing that knowledge that I learnt and sharing my journey. I always hope to inspire others to start making things as well.


So to sum it up, I make because I have to, and because I want to and because it makes me proud and happy. Why do you make?

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin

Also please don't forget to vote for me in the crafties your support means the world to me!








Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Inktober 2019 Wrap Up

So I forgot to keep updating everyone with my progress for #inktober2019 on the blog! If you follow me on Instagram I was being really good about updating everyone there but was a bit lax about posting weekly here like I had been expecting to.

But inspite of being really bad about updating on the blog I surprisingly managed to finish the challenge! I drew a picture every day for 31 days! Some I'm really proud of ... some just didn't work out like I was expecting! But I did it, and now I just need to keep that drawing happening.



Watch the video above for a full wrap up of the drawings I did.

But here are some of my favourites.

Day 3 - Bait :D a cute little worm to trap an owl!


Day 7 - Enchanted ... because we need an enchanted owl princess.


Day 10 - Pattern ... Fibonacci sequence... need I say more?


Day 15 - Legend ... King Arthur!


Day 18 - Misfit ... Square peg trying to fit in a round hole!


Day 22 - Ghost ... who doesn't love dressing up?


Day 27 - Coat ... Because I like this twist a coat of paint rather than a coat to wear.

 Day 30 - Catch ... Softball anyone?


I hope you enjoyed seeing my pictures from the inktober challenge! Which one is your favourite?

Now I also have a question for you. Are there any in either my favourites or in the rest of them that you would love to see done up as a cross stitch pattern?

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin

Saturday, 2 November 2019

LoveCrafts Blog Awards

OH MY GOSH!!! Can you tell I'm just a little bit excited?? When I received this email I was just a little bit overwhelmed! I was never expecting an honour like this. In all my years blogging this is the first time I have been nominated for an award like this!






As you can see by this awesome badge I have been nominated for a blog award! My blog and my designs have been recognised by the crew at love crafts! BUT It's now up to you to help me! I have been nominated in the Stylish Stitching Category.


The next step is simple... I need you to follow the link below and vote for Naughts & Cross Stitches to see if I can win this award!


This is such an awesome opportunity for me and I hope you can all help make this happen.

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin




Sunday, 27 October 2019

Christmas Owl Wreath Stitch-A-Long

I will start this with saying I have NEVER done anything like this but I am extremely excited to make this come to fruition! So please be nice as I deal with the teething problems!

What am I talking about? Well I have been really enjoying designing and drawing these last 6 months and one project I really wanted to do was run a stitch-a-long. But my designs are not big and complicated. I deliberately design stuff that really won't take you long to stitch from start to finish because I like those sorts of projects.



OWL WREATH STITCH-A-LONG

So I am making my Stitch-a-Long a little different. The stitching component is only half of the SAL. The second half is a finishing tutorial. I'm going to give full instructions with a video on turning your piece into a little pillow that you can hang on your christmas tree or put in a decorative bowl. You're going to be able to finish all your ornaments from now on and they make awesome gifts for friends and family to hang on their trees.

Time:
This is going to be a 4 week SAL with week one being cross stitching and then by the end of week 4 you will be able to showcase your finished ornament. 

Requirements:
Cross stitch fabric
Threads - 8 colours
Backing fabric
Stuffing
Sewing Machine and/or Needle and thread
Fabric Glue
Ribbon/thread for the trim

Design:

This is a mock up of the finished design as I haven't finished the stitching to show you what the pillow will look like.

It is 50x50 stitches so will end up at about 3.5 inches square.

So down to the important questions what do you get?


This SAL will include:

-Weekly videos of the steps involved and the instructions.
-Full pattern to stitch the above design
-Instructions and options to finish your design
-Exclusive pattern group for the above SAL where I can answer any questions and you can get help from me or others doing the SAL.
-Access to the videos and pattern for eternity (well maybe not depends on the internet not me!)

 How much will it cost?

This is probably a large question as there is a lot involved. I am offering this SAL for the awesome price of $1 AUD. (I don't know what exactly that will translate to in your country with the taxes that get added) I figure this is my first ever SAL and outside the design and videos the majority of the cost of supplies will be on you so I want to make it as available for everyone as possible. I will also suggest cheaper options and alternatives as we go along if it is at all possible.

So please come join me on this fun journey! I look forward to sharing this with you!

Get the pattern HERE and join us for a fun November!

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin


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