To-Be-Stitched: Keeping Track of Future Projects

I have the same problems with cross-stitch patterns that I have with books: Quantity and Time. My TBR list is longer than my arm, and I have a box full of cross-stitching magazines and a drawer full of kits. And not enough hours in the day.

I don’t help myself, either, buying a new magazine each month, usually full of many patterns which I want to stitch. And then by trying to design my own patterns, too.

About ten magazines into my collection, though, I came to a decision. I was marking the patterns I liked by folding down the corner of the page, but I wasn’t really keeping track of them, for suitable occasions in the future or just-becauses. So, I did what comes naturally to the planner.

I began to note each pattern down, in a notebook, complete with the edition it was in, the length of time it supposedly took, and a complete list of all threads and fabrics required to complete the pattern. My Project Notebook. I also make a note of potential recipients.

And when it’s made, it gets ticked off the list.

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Do you have a To-Be-Stitched list? How do you keep track of it?

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.

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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.

Simple Stitches

It’s easier, I find, to discover simple,  good, recipes than simple, pretty, cross stitch patterns.

This, I consider a crying shame in my current time-poor life. Same goes for the crochet, although that’s more because my tired brain can’t quite cope with the concentration required for my monster projects. I’m hoping this will change shortly.

However, and for which I will be very grateful because my April is full of birthdays, a recent edition of CrossStitcher held within its pages simple, but effective, birthday card designs.

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There was another design similar to this, but a smidgeon smaller with the words ‘With Love’ picked out. I have a strong suspicion that these designs will be my go-to birthday card patterns. Especially since they only took an hour or two each.

Have you any favourite simple cross-stitch designs? Where did you find them?

Scrapbooking Cross-Stitch

I collect notebooks. I like paper and the idea that this new notebook will have a purpose. It will be home to my next Big Idea.

Whenever I go into Hobbycraft, I look at the scrapbooks and I think about getting one. Only, I don’t really understand what scrapbooking is all about. It looks like making a book of collages, or gathering pictures and things for inspiration. I’m not much of a one for collage and if I found my bits and bobs for inspiration and stuck them down, my brain would probably think the job was done and move onto something else. So I’ve looked at the pretty scrapbooks and moved on, unable to justify getting one.

And then, while packing up for a move, I realised how many little cross-stitch projects I had. Doing nothing. Like the Mouseloft kits. Once complete, I don’t always know what to do with them, so they get put away and forgotten about.

So I joined a couple of dots.

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From the beginning

The first page of my cross-stitch scrapbook, with the hedgehog which started my cross-stitch habit. The swallow was supposed to become a brooch but since it’s been a couple of years and I still haven’t stuck the pin on, it’s probably safe to say that won’t happen…

This year, my cross-stitch plans involve filling my scrapbook.

Stop. Start. Give Up. Try Again.

I’ve been working on the writing malarkey for many years. You know how successful writers often say that they filled exercise books as children, scribbling down their first stories in a childish hand with a big, fat crayon?

In a way that’s me. I have notebooks filled with plans and first lines. Ideas.

But what I find more interesting are the documents on my laptop. The stories I liked enough to begin to type. And then which I abandoned for various reasons. Probably mostly because my characters had run out of steam.

I read an article in a writing magazine a month or so ago which suggested that, in order to move forward with one’s writing career, one needed to go back and bin all those old ideas which never went anywhere. Only then, with a completely clean slate, can one free up the clutter in the mind to start afresh.

I’m not sure about this. It’s true a tidy work-space can lead to productivity. But when it comes to writing, anything can provide a trigger, and reading through old, unfinished works can spark an idea and breathe new life into the original. Sometimes what’s required for an idea to be complete is a maturity that perhaps wasn’t there the first time. A difference of perspective. That, and I’m a hoarder.

One day, maybe, I’ll admit that nothing’s ever going to happen and I shall purge my folder of barely-started stories. But not yet.

A Quick Flash

 

Why is it that as soon as I get a decent idea for a story, I can no longer write?

I had a thought for my story, a flash of inspiration as it were. I made a note of it. Scribbled it down quick before it flashed away again. It had me enthused. It’s a new idea, and I haven’t had any of those in a while.

But now I have no inclination to actually write it in.

 

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