Thursday, 5 September 2019

Knitting break from Cross Stitch

Uni has ramped up so my cross stitch has gone away for a couple of weeks and I have been trying to work on my Close to you Shawl. I haven't done much with this but I hope to have this done in the next little while because it is a very easy repetitive pattern.The cross stitch hanger tutorial post took me 2 weeks to write as it was sitting there with photos and partial writing until I finished one of my assignments.

I should be able to work on this project easily and it will be a really nice addition to my wardrobe as we go into spring! It is already starting to get significantly warmer here and I will be pulling out all my shawls soon as I love to wrap up in them on cooler nights when I don't need larger jumpers just to survive. Yes I'm pathetic about the cold!

I hope to be back with you soon with some more updates after Friday night because my assignment is due at midnight! Saturday is going to be a day of collapsing and relaxing so hopefully something will happen then.

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

New Facebook Group

I'm not sure how many of you are active in the Facebook groups or not. I know I have been moving more and more towards them. Kinda like when I first started blogging the forums were so popular but in time everyone started moving towards Facebook as it's popularity skyrocketed.

After talking to people and spending time looking around the groups I have now created my own cross stitch group. It's called Beginner Cross Stitch Designs by Naughts & Cross Stitches. I wanted a place to talk on Facebook that allowed a bit better interactions than my Facebook page.

While here I can write tutorials and I have one just released go check it out (it's about turning cross stitch into a patchwork hanger), and I have a few more planned when I have some time. I like the conversations you can start in a group that you can't start here. It will be for sharing tips and tricks of cross stitching, tutorials and my patterns. I figure that is a pretty cool combo and could help a lot of people.


So while I won't be leaving this blog anytime soon, if you are on Facebook I would love to see you in my group.

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin

Monday, 2 September 2019

Finishing your Cross Stitch as a Quilted Hanger



WARNING! This post is VERY picture heavy! I tried to include any pictures I thought would be found useful by someone. I am also assuming a basic knowledge about how to use a sewing machine and how to cut fabric. I have done quilting so I use a 1/4 inch seam throughout but use what you feel most comfortable with just stay consistent. The exact numbers are not important it's the consistency. You can do this without a sewing machine it will just take long to sew but it is doable.

If you want to stitch this piece to finish you can find the pattern HERE. It is called Accountant or Magician and it's one of my designs. 

You will need: 

  • Finished Cross Stitch
  • Border Fabric
  • Backing Fabric
  • Either scissors or a ruler, cutting board and rotary cutters.
  • Wadding (though this is optional)

Instructions

Collect all your supplies together. I have a pile of quilting supplies so I used them but this is possible with scissors. 


I cut a 2 1/2 inch strip of fabric, and then I measured the top width of my stitching. I then allowed for a little extra either side of the design and cut two 6 inch lengths. Remembering the top and bottom lengths only need to be short.


Then cut two more lengths that are longer than the design and the top and bottom lengths as shown in the picture below.


Now is the time to cut into your fabric. But first measure it out! TWICE AT LEAST BEFORE CUTTING!!!
I counted 5 squares from the design and marked it with pins. As this was where I wanted to sew the seams.


I then cut another 5 squares out from where I marked with the pins.  As you can see below.


I then laid the top bit of fabric (right sides together) along the top seam as below and re pinned along the pin line. Because that is where you want to sew.


Move to the sewing machine... you will sew along that pin line. I recommend sewing with the aida side up as it is really easy to sew.


Just follow along the line of the aida.


Do the same with the piece on the bottom and then we are going to get our irons out.


Carefully iron the top and bottom piece away from the cross stitch.


It will look like this when ironed. If you have fabric hanging over the sides this is the time to trim it nice and straight again. I was lucky mine was perfect this time.


Lay the side pieces on right sides together and repeat the process you did with the top and bottom.


Being careful when you sew it to keep an even seam even though you don't start on the aida part.


Once sewn carefully iron the sides back and then trim it up so it is all neat.

Using this front piece as a guide cut out a piece of backing fabric and wadding to match. I just had to use this awesome pink.


It was at this point I realised I would need to hang this up somehow. There are a few ways you can organise this but I decided to make two loops.

I cut two strips about 2 inches wide and about 5 inches long. If I did it again I wouldn't have gone quite as long. I then carefully using the iron folded the long edge over and then over again making a tiny edge. You only fold it over the least amount possible.


I then sewed down each of the long edges.This creates a protected edge for the handles


Once these are done fold them in half and then pin evenly along the top of your stitching. You lay them on top of your backing fabric between the backing fabric and the front stitching.





The order you lay the pieces down is wadding and then the backing fabric face up on that. Then the stitching face down on top of the backing fabric. As can be seen below.

Pin it carefully


Sew around the edges I recommend sewing the whole way off the side and then starting each side again rather than turning as it creates crisper corners. Remembering to leave a gap to turn the work right side out.


Here is the gap below. Just make sure it isn't on the top where the handles are as this could weaken this section. I put mine on the bottom but up the sides would work too.


Before turning cut the corners and trim the wadding up to the stitching a bit.


I didn't do the neatest job but it takes out some of the bulk.


Turn your work pulling from between the front and backing pieces.


It will look like this once turned. Make sure you have your corners neatly turned.


Now there is an open gap at the bottom. There are two ways you can close this. You can do an invisible stitch but I prefer to top stitch around the whole piece to finish it off. This also has the added benefit of securing the corners nicely. Also if you wanted to turn this into a pillow this would be the point you would stuff is and close it with an invisible stitch (just thought you'd like to know that!).


As you can see here you only top stitch just in from the edge. I pin the bottom closed But I've never had a problem with doing it this way.


I also decided to top stitch around the edge of the stitching but you don't have to do this. I thought it gave a nice effect so I chose to.

Here it is testing it out with a bit of dowel. You can see what I mean by maybe a bit too long with the handles but they look so cool!


A close up of the top stitching around the stitching. It adds a nice frame and holds the wadding in nicely too.


I hope you've enjoyed my tutorial. If you have any questions or clarifications please ask them below and I will reply as soon as I can.

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin

Friday, 23 August 2019

Stealing Designs - My thoughts


This week I have been trying to focus on my etsy shop and making it much more appealing and hopefully I will get some more sales from it. (That is the hope) and in all the talking and research I've been doing, one thing that was made known to me, but that I didn't think about before, was to make the pictures in my listing harder to steal. Not that you can't just take the pictures anyway, but to actually make them look less defined so that it isn't easy just to steal them. I honestly haven't noticed anyone stitching my designs and saying they created them or seen them around but... it could always happen and I need to do my part to make it more difficult and honestly if I do say so myself the listings look so much prettier now!

What do you think of my new listing photos? They are much more streamlined and they all look fancy together :D

But it did make me think... and think hard about what is acceptable. Years ago when I first started blogging I was lamenting at one point that I want to buy Ink Circle's baroque but I didn't have the money at the time. When later that week I got an email in my inbox with the pattern PDF. I was entirely grateful at the time but then something triggered in my head. (This person also sent through some other files I had been saying were on my wishlist.) But I remembered that Ink Circle didn't have PDF files... you could only buy her patterns in paper form. This made me concerned and I emailed this person and said don't email me again this is stealing and proceeded to delete all the emails. (I have no more record of these files but I kinda wish I had said something to the designers at the time but I only have my story now and no records and this was about 6 years ago now.) I knew even then that as much as I wanted to have all the patterns in the world they were much more special when I EARNT the patterns the right way. Could be why I was ecstatic when a couple of months later I eventually bought Ink Circles Baroque and it was so awesome to plan out when and how I would stitch it. This project is about 1/3 done at the moment and I will have to focus on it at some point soon, now I've reminded myself about it!


What constitutes stealing?


I often end up in conversations with people on facebook about what actually constitutes stealing. With PDFs so easy to pass around when do you call it? When you can find images just on the web can you make cross stitch patterns from any design without talking to the original artist even if it is for personal use? I know where I sit in this argument. If you didn't design the art work you can't use it until you find out who did and ask them if you can use it. If you didn't buy a PDF pattern you need to buy it for yourself. If you bought a physical copy and you are selling, you need to hand that copy in it's original form and destroy all other forms over to someone else. To me it seems simple but what do you think? I don't understand why it becomes such a large question point and so many people don't understand.

Honestly the only grey area I have is forms of fan art. Where the legalities of whether you can sell something that is fan art are dependent on the actually creator of the original art. My understanding is that pokemon loves it and I know disney hates it.

In searching for more information about stealing patterns I stumbled onto this blog post.
It really explains it well. And I think I will go out of my way to show the original pattern picture more often. I don't have that many projects that I stitch from a non PDF form and I'm not sure if I'd go as far as to use the order number in my photos but I will go out of my way to label the designer and link to where you can legally buy the pattern. We can all do something to make it harder for people to steal by supporting the original artists and making it known where to legally buy the patterns.

What is your opinion? Do you think this is important? What lengths do we as consumers have to go to, to help support the designers and look after them so they are here tomorrow?

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Accountant or Magician - Cross Stitch Pattern


It's celebration time! I have a finish and a new pattern - Accountant or Magician. It feels like at the moment time has just disappeared but I have been finding the time to work on this somehow... actually spending lectures working on this so I could power through and finish it.



 A close up ... I love the details that I put in this :D The hands were really hard to work out first to draw and then they were hard to design. But it really worked out.


I will finish this I think with a quilted border and as a hanger that I can display at work. I'd love to have some of my art hanging up there and I've been working at this desk long enough. It would be pretty awesome to display it.

It also started off as a pretty cool drawing :D
So I hope you enjoy Accountant or Magician a cross stitch about the miracles that we are often asked to perform.

I am going to try and write up a tutorial for how I finish it as a hanger as that may help some people.I will hopefully get that finished this week. Everything gets changed around though as work and uni are getting interesting.

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin





Monday, 12 August 2019

New Instagram Account

I now have two instagram accounts! 

This is big news for me as I have just been posting in the same instagram account @naughtscrossstitches since 2014. I would post mostly craft stuff and then the random fitness or life post. But as my fitness journey has gotten so much more important and it was taking up about half of the posts and the tags just weren't quite turning into follows because someone interested in fitness posts tends not to like craft posts. At least not always... I may be more of an odd one out. Actually crafters will follow the fitness posts but fitness people won't necessarily follow the craft posts...

POLL

Can you guys comment below an answer to this? Would you follow both Fitness and Craft accounts? Or would you prefer one or the other?

Anyway, off the tangent, you can find my fitness and general life account at @naughtslife_fitness here I will share my journey getting fit and strong and general life fun.

The other reason is I have a large amount of patterns about to be published and I want to have a place more devoted to crafts and where I can really push those patterns without being annoying to my other followers. A crafter will happily see minute progress in a project while a non crafter will start to wonder why it's taking so long! I will update you guys here about my latest patterns too. I have an accountant one that is SO cute, I may be biased, and I'm almost finished the test stitch for it! You can see it below... I think you will love it too!


So there is a lot more coming and I hope you're still interested in hearing both the fitness and craft news :D

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin

Friday, 9 August 2019

Some Eco Crochet - Cotton Pads


With all the trends at the moment pushing us to be more eco friendly I really like the idea of more and more reusable items in my home. On top of that I have been getting into looking after my skin better and trying to cleanse, tone and moisturise most days. I'm not perfect but I'm a lot better than I used to be.

So I have included a quick little pattern that I have worked out as a cute little circle and figured if you want to make these too you can use this pattern.

Materials:

Bendigo Woollen Mill 8ply Cotton in Two Colours
3.5mm Crochet Hook

Abbreviations:
TR - Treble stitch (double in the US)
DB - Double Stitch (Single in the US) 
CH - Chain stitch
Join - slip stitch to join
 

Instructions in UK terms:
Colour A
Start with a magic circle and ch2 into the circle.


Row 1: Crochet 12 TRs into the magic circle. Join into the top of the first TR. The chains do not count as a stitch. (12 stitches)



Row 2: Ch2, 2TR in every stitch, join (24 stitches)



Row 3: Ch2,*2TR in the first stitch, 1TR in the next stitch* repeat between * * until the end, join and finish off the thread (36 stitches)


Change to Colour B



Row 4: Ch1, *2DB in the first stitch, DB in the next 2 stitches* repeat * * to the end join and finish off thread. (48 stitches)



And here we have a finished circle.


I have already made about 10 of these little circles, and a whole pile of different ones before I settled on this pattern as making the best size and the cutest look.

I figure these are better than throwing out a whole pile of pads and much more eco friendly and much more friendly for my wallet in the long term. Particularly since these balls from Bendigo Woollen Mills are 200gms. I bought these 4 balls AGES ago. They are almost done soon....

I hope you like these little patterns and they give you an idea of what you can make around the house.

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin

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