Birds of a Feather

For a few months each year, I have a lull in birthdays, and I get to spend some time working on other projects. Projects for me.

Fortunately, my lull in birthdays happens in consecutive months through the summer. Of course, the summer does bring other distractions in the stitching world. For one, it is wedding-season, after all; for two, it’s about time to start thinking about Christmas cards, if they’re to be done in time to make the post…More on them anon.


This year, though, I’m combining a wedding-project with something I’ve been umm-ing and ahh-ing about for the last few years. Well, OK, in my hunt for a suitable wedding-gift, I came across a pattern I designed back when I worked in a card-shop. I never did anything with it, beyond sketching it out and making a stab at picking colours. With a little adaptation and personalisation, I think it might be just right.

As I go along, I’m making changes to the original colours, for the better, but no doubt I won’t really know until I’ve completed it. It’s not going to be a huge project; in the 16-count aida I’m using it won’t be more than a 6-inch square. But I have ideas about mounting it on a sort of quilted background. We’ll see.

Changes Under Foot

A couple of weeks ago, I talked of dreams – of making those which I dreamed a bit more real. I’ve spent the last few weeks working on the plans which will do that. I’m hoping I’ve got them down.

In between whiles, I’ve also been having fun juggling full-time work with the beginnings of freelancing. I’ve been busy…I’ve also decided that I quite like working from home. Even the last few Saturdays, when I’ve been sat in front of my laptop, working. It’s been nice; I’ve felt efficient; I’ve even – dare I say it – enjoyed the work I was doing (which wasn’t, it must be admitted, particularly glamorous or exciting work). But I’ve liked being sat at my laptop, desk covered in stuff, just getting on with it. It’s been quiet and peaceful. And made me more than ever determined to become a home-worker. Especially when compared to the full-time office job…

But my plans! The changes under foot are not precisely changes; at least, not drastic ones. Simply that I will be spending this Camp NaNo working on being a more regular writer here in my Cocoary and over in my Library, and that there will be more structure to my weekly posts. My plan in the Cocoary is to write two posts a week, with each week having a different ‘theme’: Cross-Stitch, Chocolate, Crochet, and the Crafter’s Life (or just Life…). That should fill the average month. I might even manage to get at least some of them written and scheduled in advance.

Crocheting Christmas

Crochet is terribly addictive. (I so want to say I’m hooked on it but I can hear the groans from here…)

I started less than a week ago and I’ve been carrying a hook and yarn with me everywhere since.  Admittedly it helps that I’ve been curled up on a sofa sneezing and feeling sorry for myself.  Mostly, I’ve been making granny squares, of a solid pattern suitable for beginners. I think I’ve got that pattern pretty well fixed in my memory now. Patchwork blanket, here we come…

Only, of course, continuously making granny squares is a bit boring, so I found a more festive pattern. A snowflake. Sort of. I think I need to have another look at the pattern and try again.  More of a star really. Might be the yarn, though. Probably not the most suitable for this pattern. Or the hook was the wrong size.


But otherwise not bad for a first attempt.


April’s Project of the Month: Dala-Häst

I know, I know – I never finished March’s project, so what am I doing starting something else?

Well, I’m hoping something a bit more solid will be a bit easier, with the counting and so on. It’s also a smaller design.

POTM - April

I’m liking the idea of such a colourful book-cover. There’s also a blue one over the page. Now I just need to decide which one I’m going to stitch…

Rosebud Romance

There’s something about a new year which inspires change. I suspect it has something to do with having spent the festive period surrounded by family and family-friends all asking about your life and what are you up to now?

Rosebud Romance

I’m not sure I’d want to become a butterfly, necessarily, but with all the other changes of plans going on at the moment, this seemed an appropriate pattern to stitch. I’ve had my eye on it since last summer, when I found it in issue 295 of CrossStitcher, and now just seemed the right time. That, and birthdays after Christmas are a bit awkward. As per the suggestion, this was turned into a little bag:

Rosebud bag

I was quite surprised to find the pink fabric (I’m not sure what it is, some kind of poly-satin, I think) in my stash, and that it was so suitable for this project. Also, I so need to go back to IKEA for more of their linens.

It was nice to get my sewing machine out again. It’s reminded me that I collect so many patterns and fabrics, and then never do anything with them. Hopefully this will be the year when all that changes.

Keep Calm and Colour In

Colouring in’s all the rage right now – or it was last year: is it still? Apparently it’s soothing to the frazzled mind to sit still for five minutes with a colouring pad and pencils.

Certainly, I found it quite useful when I was revising for my summer AS exams more years ago than I care to remember – but I was using it to procrastinate, not calm down. I forget how calming it was. I think I got through an entire colouring pad that summer.



The reason I bring up colouring in is that, having gone through my magazines with a fine-tooth comb, selecting potential projects and making organised notes of the supplies required, I now find myself in that limbo-land wherein I must await a trip to my local Hobbycraft before I can gather the last few items I need for my February Project. And I have a few weeks of my colouring-in calendar to catch up on. Sadly the camera is doing something funny, so instead I have a picture of the Peacock cushion I made for my mother for Christmas, from CrossStitcher 296. I like to think of cross-stitch as Stitching-by-Numbers, although there is that counting element, so it’s not quite as mindless…

Inbetweentimes, and aside from the colouring, I’ve also been testing another fabric I picked up from IKEA, but which sadly is not as excellent as the linen for cross-stitch, and I fear I will give up with it. A shame, as I planned to make a much-needed needle-book, but I have other fabrics. And my needles are still quite safe in their length of scrap-aida.

Preparing for NaNoWriMo

As any veteran NaNo-er knows, the key to a successful NaNoWriMo is good preparation: spending October planning your project and doing your research, so you don’t get stuck in the middle of November because you don’t know what’s happening or where you’re going or how such-and-such works.

What a prospective NaNo-er does not need is an unfinished craft project Christmas present of the variety which requires time, energy, and obsession of the variety required for NaNoWriMo.

CrossStitcher Robo Family

For some reason after finishing my previous project, I lost the will a little and had a few days away from my stitching. So I’m a little behind and will be spending this week stitching like crazy to have as few distractions as possible from NaNoWriMo.

Which, incidentally, looks like it might be an attempt to finish the Novel, since in my break I began to chip away at that again. Funny how life and plans work like that! Like computers and threats to replace them when they have hissy fits and don’t work…