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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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.


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.

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. 

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


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,

Friday, 25 October 2019

Incoming Fun :D

Stay tuned :D

This is a little sneak peak! I have something really excited coming on SUNDAY!!! At 2pm Australian EST when I release the full announcement :D

Can you guess what the design is going to be? For a chance at a free entry into the Stitch-A-Long?

Happy Stitching,

Friday, 18 October 2019

Halloween Pattern Round-up

It's that time of the year that I need to showcase my cute Halloween patterns just to remind you that they exist.
I have three patterns currently that are directly Halloween themed and one that works for halloween if you cut out the words.

Lets start with the obvious ones. There is my Witches Brew pattern that is available from etsy.

Witches Brew

It comes with a special little freebie of the little witch as well. You get this when you buy the Witches Brew pattern.

Then there is another freebie. In 2014 about this time I posted this cute little Ghost.
You can find the pattern by following the link. I hope you enjoy this little gift.

The last pattern isn't a deliberate Halloween pattern but with a small tweak of leaving out the words this makes an awesome witch pattern. Actually probably looks more like a witch than a magician but I loved this saying and the drawing. So maybe not entirely Halloween themed but enjoy my Accountant witch :D

What do you think of this Halloween collection? Looking at it I'm realising that I have a severe deficiency and I may have to get designing!

I hope you enjoy these designs and I'd love to see some of your fun halloween makes so link them below please!

Happy Stitching,

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Inktober weekly update

Day 12 - Dragon

I'm at day 12 right now and this is fantastic... I've actually stuck with this challenge.

Day 11 - Snow

Who doesn't love the thought of a snow fight.

 Day 10 - pattern

To the math nerd in me this was irresistible.

Day 8 and 9

Only small pictures but I was at work... And was just drawing at my desk.

Day 7 - Enchanted

I love this one... It just makes me happy. An enchanted owl princess... I then used this princess with the dragon as well.

Day 6 - Husky

A new animal my first time trying to draw a husky. It is awesome.

 Day 5 - Build

Day 4 - Freeze

This is one of my favourites I love the way the ice turned out. It's my first time trying this.

 I hope you can enjoy this collection. I'm enjoying the challenge and it's great to draw each day.

Happy Stitching,


Thursday, 10 October 2019

Acrylic Owl Painting

One thing the kids beg for again and again... actually really only Lana but she does beg for this a lot, are canvases to paint. They LOVE painting and it's something I am happy to indulge and encourage.

So when I got up Sunday morning they had taken over the table and had already painted a few paintings. So instead of curling up with my cross stitch I decided to settle myself at the table as well and join them.

I had an absolute ball painting away and ended up spending longer than they did painting just one painting. I just wanted it to be special and done right. So with pencil I carefully drew an outline of my owl and then I filled in the background.

Here it is in progress ... I love the effect that I managed to get in the background. Would you believe that is only TWO colours! A blue and a lime green and then a little bit of mixing between the two of them.

Once I got all the colour on I carefully outlined with a thin brush and black paint. I am so proud of this finished piece. I have it resting at the moment against the wall but I look forward to varnishing it up and working out how to actually display it properly! What do you think?

Happy Stitching,

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Inktober 2019

Maybe I'm crazy... maybe I just don't think about what I'm signing up for but I signed up to do Inktober 2019. It's 3 days in and I think I'm currently doing pretty darn well. We shall see if that attitude continues.

For those that don't know Inktober is a drawing challenge created by artist Jake Parker and it's designed to get you drawing every day of October. It's not meant to be the most amazing drawings though some people have some stunning work. (not me so don't worry) But you are given prompts each day that you can choose to follow. You can choose to do every day or ever second day or even every week depending on your other commitments. It's about committing to something and getting in the habit of doing it.

But why Ink? It started as a way just to draw. You can't erase ink so it's about just getting your ideas down on paper. Now I HAVE been drawing basic pencil outlines of my drawings as I don't feel quite confident enough but I'm trying to stick with the premise of not going over and over and over the drawings trying to fix every part.

Now you can choose to draw with a theme in mind of you can make your drawings go everywhere. I without even realising it at first chose to draw with a theme in mind. I'm following the prompt list above but also drawing OWLS... shock horror... is anyone surprised? I seem to draw owls or girls at the moment.


When thinking of a ring all I could think of was a wreath so I started drawing a wreath and the owls weren't even in the picture. I had finished the wreath and felt that it needed something more. I wasn't sure what but it needed something so I added the owls into the middle section.


So then came Day 2 and for mindless I couldn't think of anything more mindless than the way we all (me included some days) sit in front of the TV just zoning out to everything. But I didn't want to draw a person so in came the owls again.

Now a theme is established and we shall see how it continues!


On Day 3 I had to think a little harder and then I thought about what you use bait for. Well you bait a trap don't you? This led perfectly to this little owl trap for the unwary.

I'm using a bit of colour so not 100% black and white but it's soooo much fun :D

If there are any designs you would like me to digitise and turn into patterns post a comment below, nothing will be happening quickly as I have two exams right at the end of October/first day of November.

Happy Stitching,
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