Butterflies

When I was young, I used to like collecting caterpillars and mullion leaves and keeping them in old ice cream tubs with netting over the top until they turned into butterflies (cabbage whites, I think most of them were). I think I was trying to watch for the exact moment when the butterfly hatched from the chrysalis, but I don’t remember ever managing that.

I’ve always liked the theory that butterflies were originally flutterbyes, but that metathesis caused people to call them butterflies. The OED, source of all linguistic knowledge, seems to think not. The Old English was buttorfleoge, for which they have a reference from c.1000. Shame. I prefer to call them flutterbyes; makes more sense.

Butterfly

I haven’t done much cross-stitch so far this year; I think this may even be my first, though I have also started a Celtic dragon-knot. The yellow butterfly was a Mouseloft Stitchlet, and the blue one a sticker of the colour-it-yourself variety. These stickers are encouraging me to be more creative with both my scrapbook and my journal-organiser.

And So Life Goes On

Can I still say ‘Happy New Year’ this late in January? I mean, it’s nearly February…

Thinking about it, I think this is the perfect time to start a New Year.  January is such a grey and depressing month, but February is the end of Winter and so nearly Spring and sunshine.

It’s been a while.  I regret I’ve had nothing to say and done so little in the way of crafting – mostly because of life, but also because of writerly distractions. And of course Christmas.

Since then, though, I’ve been planning my year and my goals for 2018, not really being one for resolutions.

My scrapbook of cross stitches from last year is still going.  This year, my goal is to complete the large collection of mini-kits. I’m also beginning a new scrapbook of mythological beasties and beings, which will entail creating patterns too…

I have a few crochet projects planned too. Well, one. A giant llama. No doubt other projects will suggest themselves as the year goes on.

And my last goal is to plan, almost completely, the story currently distracting me from most things and write the first part.

These goals, however, mean that I will probably not be writing here as often as I have done previously, although hopefully not as infrequently as in the last few months. At least once a month, I hope.

Love, Giraffes, and Belated Gifts

My current list of projects includes not only those which I have yet to finish, but those which I have yet to start. For gifts whose occasions are long since past.

I have a friend waiting on a birthday gift from last year. And her Christmas gift. And her birthday for this year. It’s lucky we’re old friends and she understands about delays.

My projects, therefore, are listed by time-sensitivity, starting with Late Gifts, which are then listed by Who Can Wait, rather than by the length of time they are delayed. Some people understand, others may but are not as close so probably ought to get things quicker. Like a wedding gift, fortunately only delayed by less than a month at this time. I’m still making, so it might be delayed by longer, although I’m working on GiraffesinLovethis first.

The giraffes were supposed to adorn the wedding-card, but I didn’t finish in time, so I adjusted my plans. Instead, once I’ve sorted out the detailing on the love-birds, I’ve decided to make them into a cushion cover with two cross-stitched panels. Patchwork it a bit, although I still have yet to rummage through my fabric chest to choose the backing colours. Something plain, not too pink, I think.

But at least one of these panels is now finished. Mind you, I haven’t really got much excuse for the birds not being done. I started it ages ago, long before the wedding, and got it to this point sometime in July, I think. Maybe early August. Ho hum. Such is life.

I’m still deciding quite how these panels will work. Diagonally, obviously, but I’m not sure which way, or which will be top and which bottom. Probably giraffes on the bottom. Probably.

I have, however, decided that the fastest way to get the crochet projects finished, of which I have two time-sensitive projects, will be to start carrying around my crochet bag and completing them during my lunch-hour at work, since it is actually an entire hour. Not sure how this will work with remembering which round I’m on; will give it a go and report back…

Rabbits, Blankets and Camping

Well, that was a longer break than anticipated! In the meantime, I’ve also scrapped an awful lot of what I had planned…which isn’t all that helpful, when you think about it.

However. I have managed to return to both cross stitch and crochet, though to none of my current or other planned projects.

Instead, I have started small, ish, and simple. A rabbit kit from a magazine, and a granny square baby blanket. Both just right for helping my brain make sense of the mess it has made in planning a 5-book series…

Bunny and blanket.jpg

Learning About Time

Unfinished projects are the bane of my life. Not just crafting projects, of which I have, um, more than enough, but writing projects, life projects, development projects: basically, anything which demands of my time; anything which requires energy in the planning, and then in the doing. Anything which takes longer than, well, my attention span. I mean, how long is a piece of string?

Some projects can keep my attention and energy for months (I’m also looking at a writing project which will take years, and so far *touch wood*, I am not filled with dread); others maybe half an hour. Of course, things like bills also demand attention, and far more persistently than most of my projects, rather like a small, screaming toddler, which cuts into the project-time.

Love-Birds1.jpg

However, I have learned that half an hour, here and there, can get any project done. Perhaps not immediately, but just half an hour a day, or even ten minutes, and it’ll be done sooner than you think. Certainly sooner than if you wait for an entire afternoon, or day, or week, or however long you think the project will take.

Of course, the trick with a stitching project worked in this fashion is simple: make sure, if you make colour changes to your project (or if it’s one you’ve designed yourself), that you make comprehensive notes about the thread-numbers. I found myself with a spare hour to finish this one (minus the outlining, which I’m still trying to work out), and a fair proportion of that was spent in remembering which threads I was using…

 

Colour by Stitching

When I was revising for my A levels, I completed an entire colouring pad. It was one of those My First Colouring books, with large pictures of flowers, cats, scarecrows, etc. I’m not sure how much it helped, revision-wise, but I was happy and remained stress-free, so it was good for something.

I colour in less these days. I calm my troubled mind with cross stitch and crochet, but I like the pictures you can get these days for colouring in. I’d like to have a go at embroidery colouring. I like the thought of having an image picked out with big black lines and just cross stitching it in whichever colour I fancy. Like colouring in.

CrossStitchColouring.jpg

I couldn’t resist this bag when I came across it in Hobbycraft, supposedly for fabric painting. Some of it might have to be stitched in something other than cross stitch, but I’ve been meaning to learn other embroidery stitches for a while, and this seems as good a project as any to practise with. Of course, I have had this bag for a while, and not yet made a start on it, but the intention is there. It has been since I first found it. I need to unpick the seams first – I’ve tried stitching on an already made up bag before: complete nightmare, I can tell you!

Down the Rabbit Hole

When I was growing up, my local shop for crafting supplies was a fabric factory shop. It was, and still is, an Aladdin’s cave of all things fabric-y, with a supply of wools and yarns for good measure. I grew up in sheep-country, where the local economy in years gone by was built on wool. I loved going to this factory shop, and I’ve built quite a stash from my trips over the years.

BUT. As might be deduced, it caters to a select handful of crafts: to quilters and dressmakers, to embroiderers and cross-stitchers, to knitters and crocheters. All things fabric and yarn, in fact.

Now, I’m generally fine with this; I am primarily a cross-stitcher, with occasional crocheting and dress-making thrown in.

Leaving home, though, meant that I had to find a new supplier for my crafting needs. And so I found Hobbycraft.

 

Hobbycraft, if you don’t know it, is less an Aladdin’s cave, more a rabbit-warren of crafts. Chances are, you will find what you need, and then, getting lost on your way to pay, you will find other things. Things which glitter and sparkle, which call to your crafter’s heart, sing out a siren’s song, and you will find yourself walking out with a whole new craft to start.

Me, I have started dabbling with papercrafts; with scrapbooking, in particular. I’ve cross-stitched a few cards in the past (it’s a nice way to use up small kits and patterns), but otherwise stayed out of the paper aisles. I mean, I’ve always like notebooks (love Paperchase!), but otherwise paper doesn’t inspire me like fabrics and threads.

Until earlier this year, when I got myself a scrapbook to do something with those small cross-stitch kits which come free with the magazines. I wasn’t turning them into whatever they were suppose to be; I was just stitching them and tucking them, out of sight, into a Projects Drawer. Which is a bit of a waste, when you think about it.

And now, when I go into Hobbycraft, I find myself wandering the papercraft aisles, looking at the pretty papers and the stickers and the sparkly pens. I’ve even started looking at scrapbook kits on eBay.

I can resist, sometimes. I mean, I have other projects, and not enough time to spend on another craft, but oh the paper’s so pretty, and it wouldn’t take all that long, would it? It’s just arranging things artfully and sticking them down, right? And it’s not like I’ll be worrying about Proper Layouts – mine’s just for my cross-stitching.