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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

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

WIP - Beacon and Daybreak!

 I have actually done some stitching that I can share as a Work in Progress. So often I can only share my work at the moment after I have finished it and it's published. But this week I have been spending some time on Beacon at Daybreak. So I want to show you my progress because I'm happy with how it is going :D


Last Week


22/02/2022

 
I have that whole section on the left before the path finished. It is all done. Now I am focusing on the path and I want to get that finished. This piece is so easy to carry around. I'm between other projects so this is good to stitch on. Also not having a deadline makes me so much happier with this project. I seem to always be rushing my other projects trying to get them done quickly to release the patterns and it's not as fun. I need to find the balance. Probably better if I managed to work 2 magazines ahead not just one. I will get there one day. I have time at lunch I just need to use it properly. Also need to get my head working a few seasons ahead. I am weird about drawing at the moment. It will all work out though :D

Happy Stitching, 
Caitlin


Friday, 18 February 2022

Friday Finds - Sarah Renae Clark

 Let's see whether I keep this going again! I've done 3 posts this week! We'll see how I go! 

I stumbled onto this colouring artist on YouTube a few months ago and absolutely fell in love with her work. She's funny and honest about her mistakes and her achievements. On top of that she's amazing at making colours look AMAZING!  So check out her awesome videos.



Happy Stitching,

Caitlin

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Down The Rabbit Hole - In Flander's Fields

I know I did talk about this when I first started designing for this magazine all the way back in 2020! Gosh that seems like a long time ago! You can see the first design I did for them here.

They are now onto issue 6 and each issue I have designed a new piece. It has been a great bonus. I finished the Aussie Animal Seasons series. They were so much fun to design. I love these little characters :D You can still get these patterns by buying magazines 1-4. I will eventually release these in my shop but I haven't gotten there yet. 

 

Once that series was done I had to come up with something else for the next summer issue... so I ended up making this cute little cricket owl :D Because cricket is such a great summer sport here. Also owls... do I need anything more?


The autumn issue is always hard. Living where I do in Australia I don't feel any connection the autumn because it seems to just disappear between summer and then suddenly it's mildly cold. But ANZAC day falls within Autumn and I found myself drawing a poppy. I had so much fun playing with pens and pencils. I love it when my drawings become designs it makes me really proud of how they turn out.



 I had this stunning red music fabric and I surrounded my piece with it and it just makes it sing.

 So this piece 'In Flander's Fields' can be found in the latest issue of Down The Rabbit Hole that has been released on the 15th of Feb.


I hope you enjoy all these pretty designs.
Happy Stitching, 

Caitlin

Friday, 11 February 2022

Free Valentine's Day Pattern - Owl Love

 

It's been a while since I've released a free pattern and I had a need to make this cute little pattern. As normal at the moment I started with an idea I randomly sketched out and then decided I needed to make it happen. So if you're looking for a cute little piece to stitch for your partner or for your friends this weekend this little piece would be perfect!



Though the final result ended up being a lot simpler than this was I just loved the idea of it. You can find the pattern in my facebook group HERE. If you aren't on facebook send me an email/message and I can send you the pattern another way but facebook is the easiest way to share PDFs with large groups of people. Please remember to answer the questions if you aren't in the group yet as I tend to turn down people who don't! 


 
I hope you enjoy this little pair of owls and if you stitch it share your finished piece with me. 
 
Happy Stitching, 
Caitlin

Wednesday, 9 February 2022

My last Year

This last year has been an adventure. When I look back just over a year ago I didn't even know I was pregnant and then all of a sudden we had a newborn to look after and she was growing so quickly. I have neglected this blog partially because I was posting on instagram, partially because crafting has been slow and just because it takes more effort to write for a blog than it takes to just share a photo. But I always love blogging. I love the extended story telling and what you can share vs what instagram will let you share. So here is a shortened version of the last year, craft projects, some ups and downs. All the new patterns that are out and all that fun stuff. 

I last left you after showing cute photos of the outfit I managed to make for my daughter. She was due around the 20th of March and by that time she was very comfy and didn't want to make an appearance. They booked me into be induced on the 3rd of April and bubs made her appearance late in the day on the 4th of April. It wasn't an easy delivery and she ended up going straight to NICU after. Thankfully after the first day it was just for monitoring so she spent most of the days with me on the main ward.

 

Meet Hannah Jade

Isn't she so cute? I keep forgetting how small she was then. Hannah was only 3.3kg when born so not a big baby but not a small one. I was so happy when we could take her home after only 5 days. At first she was too small to fit the outfit that I made for her but it wasn't too long before she was looking so cute in the beanie and dress :D Kinda sad now though that she can't fit it anymore.


Hannah and her Dad

Cuteness to the extreme :D

Hannah and Me

 

She has been such a happy baby but it has been such a change that at times I've been struggling to keep up. She's so happy to play but was also very clingy to me. I could do nothing if it wasn't with her touching me, or so it seemed. A trip to the toilet would end in her screaming because I was out of her sight. I couldn't leave her to go to the shops because she would scream the whole time etc. It was an adjustment. While I did still manage to craft during that time it was limited.

 
 
I was able to do some stitching but it was mainly designs for the magazine. I started designing for Down The Rabbit Hole from their first issue and I've managed to keep up and design as much as I could. I finished my Animal Seasons patterns and I'm looking forward to designing more aussie animals in the future. I think I have even managed to work out how to make an echidna pattern I just need to test colours!

Aussie Seasons

I've also been drawing a LOT it has been one of the things that is really easy to do with Hannah asleep on me particularly as she got bigger and started taking up more room. I drew this little guy playing cricket and just knew that I had to turn it into a cross stitch pattern as well. So this little pattern came to be. That seems to be the way most things are happening at the moment.

Cricket Owl
 
Then I released a few patterns just before Christmas. Some more cure animal patterns and a mermaid. These were both great fun to stitch and work on. You can find these patterns in my etsy store.
Woodland Animals

Mermaid

And if I remember I will do separate posts about all these patterns ... I just need to remember that I need to do this. It's not hard to do I just get distracted easily...
My cutest distraction

So now I'm back in the office most days and creating and making things when I do find the time. Bubs is 10 months old now and while she loves days spent with her grandparents she is wanting time with me and her siblings and Dad in the evenings. 


Happy Stitching and I will see you sooner this time around :D 

Caitlin





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