Squillions of SBQ’s!!

  With housesitting, limited internet access, and lately limited time available, I’m woefully behind with the SBQ’s … so here goes a massive catch-up (I’m killing time before the traffic dies down, so I can make a trek across town with another boot load of stuff – Nigel & Brenda have convinced me to stay here another night tonight so I’m not pottering around in an empty home, but I’ll definitely be heading out there tomorrow for good).  Rightio, here goes with the SBQ’s, starting with the most recent first:

17 January 2008 – This week’s SBQ was suggested by Outi and is:

“What is your favorite past time while stitching? Do you just enjoy silence, listen to music/audiobooks or do you “watch” TV/movies? Do you have specific favorites you listen to/watch while stitching?”

This is a nice easy one – without a doubt my favourite pastime is watching DVD’s or TV … coming in second is listening to audiobooks.  I can watch movies over and over again and not get bored, and I love my DVD collection almost as much as my stitching stash!

9 January 2008 – This week’s SBQ is:

“What was your favorite finish of 2007?”

This one is harder to answer … I’d have to probably say my CA Wells class project – Peacock Needle/Scissorcase – it’s the most challenging piece of ‘finishing’ I’ve one to date, and I’m particularly proud of it.  Coming up a close second is Just Nan’s “A Little Joy” Christmas Ornament – I absolutely adore the little over-one centrepiece and was pleased as punch how well it turned out with the nun’s stitch edging etc.

3 January 2008 – This week’s SBQ is:

“Are you starting something new to celebrate the New Year or participating in “Guilt Free January?” If so, what are you planning on starting?”

My entire year of 2008 is going to be Guilt Free and Enjoy your Stitching Year – no January new starts for me … but watch out when I’m settled into my new home 😉

27 December 2007 – This week’s SBQ is:

“Did you receive any stitching-related gifts for the holidays?”

I was going to say no, but then I remembered Mum bought me a new floor model Ott-lite daylight lamp, so that would make my answer a “yes” 😀

19 December 2007 – This week’s SBQ was suggested by Kathryn and is:

“Have you ever helped anyone else learn to stitch? Have you ever helped anyone learn a new stitch or technique?”

Yes – I taught a small group of girls how to XS when I was an adult student at College – I kitted up a bookmark design for each of them.  I also taught Mum how to XS at the grand age of 70 … and now she’s hooked and wondering why she didn’t start it up when she was younger 🙂

12 December 2007 – Today’s SBQ was suggested by Nancy and is:

“Do you do anything special to your threads before putting them through your fabric to make them more manageable?”

Every now and then I’ll use Thread Heaven, but that’s about it.

5 December 2007 – Today’s SBQ was suggested by Nancy and is:

“What tips would you give to a new stitcher to help her stitch faster and neater while still keeping it enjoyable?”

Just to make sure all your crosses go in the same direction – and don’t stress … personally I think the enjoyment part should be the most important – I don’t stress about having perfect stitches, and I certainly don’t railroading etc, I just stitch for the enjoyment of seeing that fabric fill up and come to life.  On the other hand I’ve found using a frame with scrollbars wonderful to increase the speed of stitching, as I can use both hands at once.  The only other thing to suggest is having a few pieces kitted up, so there’s always a project on hand that you can pick up without having to think – that always slows me down, as it takes me forever to get my A into G and kit something new up, and I end up not stitching at all because of it.  Sorry, not many tips coming from this gal!

9 November 2007 – Today’s SBQ is:

“When you have to frog out stitches, do you reuse that thread or do you start over with a new strand?”

Depends on the state of the thread – if I only have to frog a few stitches, I’ll frog and continue again with the same thread … likewise if I’m on my very last strand of a kitted thread and I don’t have any more in my stash, I’ll end up having to re-use it again – otherwise I scrap it and cut off a new piece of thread.

2 November 2007 – Today’s SBQ was suggested by Ternezia and is:

“If you were a cross stitch designer, what would your design style be?”

Very eclectic, I guess – I don’t have one particular style of design that I like to stitch, so it would be a mix of whimsical, traditional, and contemporary … either way it would likely be a type of stitching small (I’ve been tempted to try designing a needleroll a few times now – one day I might finally achieve that!).

24 October 2007 – This week’s SBQ is:

“Do you railroad?”

Only for satin stitches – everything else is fair game and falls as it lies …

17 October 2007 – This week’s SBQ was suggested by Jennifer and is:

“What proportion of your stitching is for your own personal use versus gifts?”

All of my stitching was given away as gifts until recently – now I’m more of a selfish stitcher and I’m stitching with myself in mind … although I’ve often started a project for myself then learnt someone adores that subject or project and it ends up being given away.  I’d like to get back into some more small pieces of gift stitching, though.

6 September 2007 – Today’s SBQ is:

“Would you ever stitch one of your BAPs a second time? (This does not include starting over because of mistakes, bad fabric, etc, rather stitching something from the first stitch for a second time.)”

That’s an easy one – no way!!!  A BAP takes me long enough to stitch it the first time, and with a stitching stash to keep me stitching until I’m 300 years old, there are too many other projects to excite me.

15 August 2008 – Today’s SBQ was suggested by Jennifer  and is:

“How did you get started stitching? Was there a person that inspired you?”

I’ve always been keen to try new crafting projects, so XS was just something else new to try – I picked up a simple tiny kit and taught myself from the kit instructions, and haven’t looked back!  It’s also the only crafting thing I’ve tried and kept up (don’t ask about all the supplies still sitting back in Auckland for basketweaving, silk painting, fabric dyeing, glass painting, and goodness knows what else!!).

I think I’ve missed a few dates out, but they’ll have to wait until another time … it’s time for me to get dressed and hike to the other side of town and kill a few cockroaches and/or spiders 😉

Cross Stitch, SBQ

SBQ’s … loads of them!

3rd note to self …

“You must remember at all times that you have a head like a sieve right now – your blondeness is truly ruling the roost in your life, and you mustn’t forget it! For example, when you think to yourself that today is Monday you really really should check and confirm to yourself that it really is … shift work and blondeness are not a good combination. The outcome is that you will pack your car up with all your stitching boxes and computer to take them into storage … only to arrive at a chained up gate at 3.15pm. Yes that’s right … if you check what day of the week it really is, you would know it was Sunday and the gates close at 2pm. That would also save you from driving all the way home to unpack the car again … to just repack everything again the next day and do it all over again! So, check … check again … and triple check again … doh!!”

4th note to self …

“If you stopped doing dopey things, you wouldn’t have to keep writing ‘notes to self’ … ;)”


I’m sooooo behind on answering the SBQ’s, so it’s time to catch up from before I moved out of my last flat:

10 May – This SBQ is from Ish:

“How do you choose a project for an exchange? Do you pick solely on what you know of the taste of the recipient, or are there other reasons you pick the piece you do?”

I try to get a feel for what the participant likes, then find something using that criteria that I would enjoy stitching – no point in stitching something that you’re going to hate doing. I always try to find out colour preferences, if nothing else, and work from there.

16 May – This SBQ is from Juls:

“If you could only stitch one more piece what would it be and why?”

That’s a really tough one … perhaps it would be Chatelaine’s Stitching Leporello, as I think it’s an exquisite piece when it’s all finished, and functional at the end of it all.

30 May – This SBQ is from Kathryn:

“How many needles do you use during a project? Have you ever loaded up a needle for every colour? Do you use a new needle for every project, or recycle your favourite needle?”

It depends on what I’m stitching really – for example with the Bordeaux Sampler because there were only three individual colours being used, I had one needle pretty much loaded up per colour, especially if I’d only used a tiny bit of the thread before finishing it off and moving on to another colour. I’ll also use a number of needles for TW designs, mainly for the blended needles – when I’m stitching one of those I use one of the needle park gadgets to keep track of them all. As for using a new needle for every project, I don’t honestly see the sense in that – I’m pretty hard on needles and chew through them pretty quickly due to the chemicals in my skin I guess, so I’d never have a needle long enough for it to be a ‘favourite needle’ 😉 As soon as the needle starts to ‘drag’ through the fabric it goes in the bin and I grab a new one out of the packet.

6 June – Today’s SBQ was suggested by Ish and is:

“What has been your most challenging project and why?”

Hmmm, this is quite a difficult one to answer, and I can’t narrow it down to just one thing – The Dratteds because stitching all that monotonous colour was truly boring, and it was a huge project to stitch; the CA Wells pieces purely for the challenge of the finishing methods as I’m lacking in confidence in that area; and Bordeaux Sampler for all those dratted over-one grapes I guess. Anything that teaches me something new is a challenge, but a rewarding one J

14 June – Today’s SBQ was suggested Jennifer and is:

“How do you store your WIPs and other projects that you have kitted up?”

Before I moved all my goodies into storage, I had all my rotation pieces sitting in the lounge by my stitching chair – all my scrollbars and stretcher bars etc with my WIP’s on them were stacked up against the bookcase, within arms reach of my chair, with each of the project ‘kits’ in project envelopes, sitting in a plastic tub. They’d sit in order of my rotation, and once I’d stitched a rotation slot the project envelope got put at the back of the pile, ready to select the next project from the front of the pile. Each project envelope holds the original chart, working copy, and threads/embellishments needed for stitching. As for other kitted up projects, I have them sitting in archive boxes now with the threads, fabric and charts in zip-loc bags – and the list of each box’s contents is in a Word document.

22 June – Today’s SBQ was suggested by Kathryn and is:

“When you start a new work do you look for something small, do you look for another huge project or do you consider your UFOs?”

I’d have to say it depends on the mood … if I’ve just finished a BAP I’m more likely to pick up something smaller for a while to give myself a break. Also, if the guilt sets in badly that I’ve been neglecting older WIP’s I ‘might’ eventually pick up a UFO and work on it … maybe 😉

3 July – Today’s SBQ is:

“Do you consider yourself a “floss miser?”

It depends on the thread itself – if it’s silks, expensive threads, or part of a kit, yes I am – I’ll stitch down to the very last bit of the thread. If it’s DMC, even though it’s more expensive here than it is elsewhere in the world, I have to admit I’m starting to change. I used to stitch with my DMC down to the last inch (and I still will if I’m stitching a large patch etc), I won’t save scraps anymore for ‘later’, unless it’s a fairly decent length of thread.

12 July – Today’s SBQ was suggested by The Wagon and is:

“What do you love to do that many people hate? What do you hate to do, but do anyway?”

I can’t say I “love” doing it, but I don’t mind doing backstitching – it quickly ‘finishes’ a project off and you can usually see a great impact on the finished design fairly quickly. I hate French knots, but I’m learning to master them so they don’t have me running screaming from the room now as much as they used to.

19 July – Today’s SBQ was suggested by Ish and is:

“Which project (finished or in progress) are you most proud of? Explain why.”

I’d have to probably say my stumpwork pieces – they were my first foray away from cross stitch, and I still feel quite proud of them to this day. They were a huge step forward in my stitching … nothing like jumping in feet first with something simple! 😉 (talking of stumpwork, Elisabeth your comment in my Webshots album about the Lorri Birmingham fob gave me a HUGE giggle!! LOL)

Christmas Ornaments, Cross Stitch, Finishes, SBQ

SBQ and another ornie

Thanks for the words of advice and comments about my shoulder – I tried Nurofen and stretching etc for the first 24 hours, but it didn’t do anything.  The last time this happened I put up with it for a couple of weeks and felt like a wreck due to the lack of sleep etc – I eventually got the name of a ‘nerve manipulator’ in Heidelberg, and she fixed it.  It’s not very pleasant while she’s manipulating it, but it’s all over with in a couple of minutes and well worth every single cent spent.  I checked yesterday, though, and I had a crappy pay (my overtime comes on next payday) so things will be extremely tight for the next fortnight … mind you, Jan (the manipulator) told me that if you don’t treat a trapped nerve it can eventually affect your breathing and you could end up being hospitalised, so now I’m more educated about it I’m happy to get it fixed as soon as it happens (but I’ll always give it 24-48 hours to see if it clears itself first).  It just means I’ll stocking up on essential food only for a fortnight again 😦

Anyway, I sat and had a glass of sparkling wine last night to help ease the pain (yeah, OK, the truth is I just really really felt like having one! LOL) … and I managed to finish one last ornie for the day (even I have to admit my needles have been smoking the last 2 days!). This one is so much prettier in real life in the magazine photo – the DMC 498 is so rich and scrummy, I love it! 😀


“Christmas Rose” by Elizabeth’s Designs
from 2002 JCS Christmas ornie issue
Stitched on the same 28ct ‘mystery’ evenweave as yesterday using the recommended threads

  Now, before I head off and do some tidying up and general housework for the day, I’ll answer the last two SBQ’s, ‘cos as per normal I’m behind in answering …

2 May – Today’s SBQ was suggested Kathryn and is:

How many WIPs do you have? How many UFOs do you have? When does a WIP become a UFO?

Hmmm, good question … first of all I guess I class a project as a UFO when I haven’t touched it for about a year.  As for how many WIP’s I have, I’d say 8 in my current rotation, although three of those technically became UFO’s as I hadn’t touched them for just over 12 months (Egyptian Garden Mandala, Winter Queen and Le Jardin Silk Sampler) … as for other UFO’s, I’ve managed to finish a few over the last two years, and I’m down to a sum total of 30 now – but there is a pretty big mix of what type of project they are, ie they’re not all XS.  Breaking them up into categories, I have:

  • 5 Stumpwork (all by Jane Nicholas) – Needlework Accessories set; Dragonfly; Pomegranates and Beetle; Honesty and Heartsease; Oriental Poppy
  • 13 Cross Stitch/Counted Thread – TW’s English Garden Sampler; Mediterranean village scene; Love and Affection by JBW Designs; TW’s Noah’s Ark; Nature’s Resting Place by Stoney Creek; Topiary Tree bookmark by Textile Heritage; Christmas Welcome on plastic canvas; Butterflies & Hearts needleroll by Lorri Birmingham (I’m going to unpick and change the colours); Apricot Elegance by Cindy Valentine; Hussif by Martha Schmidt (class project); Egyptian Garden Mandala by Chatelaine; Winter Queen by Mirabilia; Le Jardin Silk Sampler from JCS magazines
  • 1 Beading – 3-dimensional beaded fish
  • 2 Quilting – Golliwog applique quilt (from a class – just has the binding to be finished, but I can’t remember how to do it); cot quilt (my first attempt – I really need to get this finished!!)
  • 1 Goldwork – Goldwork pea (class project)
  • 6 Surface/Wool Embroidery – Summer Fruits pincushion from Inspirations magazine; Hussif by Monica Hunt (class project); Bullion rose facecloth (likely to just unpick and start using it!); Wool hotwater bottle cover (class project); Berry Delightful Bag (class project); Wool beehive needlebook from Inspirations magazine
  • 2 Canvaswork – Frogs in longstitch; Ornamental Delights (Group Correspondence Course through EGA)

19 Apr – Today’s SBQ was suggested Danielle and is:

Are you on “The Wagon?” If so, how long have you been on and how “serious” are you about it? If not, have you considered it?

I’ve been on The Wagon for about a year now – more for financial reasons than anything else.  I’ll occasionally buy something if I truly truly love it, but I haven’t been buying charts for a while now.  Once I complete my 50 Project Challenge, though (if finances permit), I’ll be doing one reasonable sized order … the key thing being “finances permitting”.  I have been buying any threads for charts already in my stash that I can’t find a substitution for.  In the meantime I’ve been really enjoying stitching from my stash and re-discovering the awesome charts I already have 😀

Blogroll, Home & Family TO BE FIXED, SBQ

SBQ & blogging in general

Still no news on my car – I spoke to the mechanic while I was sitting at the train station on the way to work yesterday, and they’re still waiting on the new clutch pedal to arrive.  Apparently there was a cock-up at wherever they get their parts from … so still no idea when it will be fixed.  I still don’t have my airline tickets booked for Perth yet until I at least know what the bill is going to be.  By hook or by crook I’ll get myself to Perth for the class, as otherwise it’ll be such a waste of time and money, but I guess there’s only so much money in the bank, and if it reaches my limits then I’ll have no choice … at this stage, though, I’m still being hopeful.  

One of the problems in Perth, though, is that the friend I’m staying with has now moved, and lives out in Merriwa near South Geraldton, and the public transport options for getting to where the class is being held is appalling.  On Saturday alone the trip will take me (according to the Transperth trip planner) 2.51 hours … departing at 5.55am I would arrive at 8.46am, and the journey will have taken me on two trains, two buses, and included a walking distance of approx 2034 metres … bloody hell, I’m exhausted even just thinking about it!  And I daren’t even look at the Sunday schedules, as they’re usually worse.  So I’ve opted to hire a car instead, as even driving it will take me 1 1/4 hours according to the driving maps (and seeing as I’ll be on my own trying to follow the map, I’d better add on an extra 1/2 hour just in case) … of course that means an extra $120 expense without petrol costs, so one of the reasons I’m being cautious about booking my airline ticket yet until I know what money I’ve got leftover to play with.  Oh well, I’ve still got about 70 hours before the class starts … no need to panic! 😉

Anyway, on to the latest SBQ … Today’s SBQ was suggested by Heather and is:

“How do you decide which stitching blogs are worth repeat and/or regular viewings? Are there certain things you look for in particular? Are there things you wish there were more of? Less of? Is your blog a good example of what you like to read?”

As for deciding which blogs are worth repeat/regular viewing – piccies for me are probably first and foremost … I love to see stitching WIP’s and finishes, and piccies of stash bought – it’s definitely true to say a visually appealing blog makes me more likely to come back for more.  Then of course there has to be a good writing style to accompany the piccies – I like to read a mix of stitching stuff, with enough personal info that lets you get a glimpse into the blogger’s personal life and a feel for who you are as a person.  First and foremost it is the stitching content, though, that will grab me.  I suppose my own blog is a sort of example – I usually have a mix, although there hasn’t been too much in the way of stitching of late hmmm.

I have to say that it’s quite funny to have this question now, as it’s something I’ve been pondering myself over the last few weeks.  To be brutally honest I’m finding blogging to be a bit of a chore at the moment … I’m not entirely sure why, but I’m finding it difficult to both write my own blog and read other blogs at the moment, and wondering whether I need to take a small mini-break for a while.  One of the problems is that I have so many blogs on my reading list if I don’t check them daily the unread feeds just snowball out of control – even though I’ve been trying to read a few over the last week since my return from Sydney (and since Mum’s gone home), I still have over 500 unread feeds, and that starts to weigh on me a little bit, and makes it feel like a chore. But then again I don’t want to “mark all feeds as read” as I don’t like missing out on anything … it’s a catch-22 haha.  But the SBQ has made me consolidate my thoughts a wee bit, and I know a couple of blogging friends have been doing the same thing, in that I think I need to cull my reading list slightly.  There are some blogs I’ve been reading for a while that no longer, or rarely, have stitching content so I don’t get as much enjoyment from them as I used to.  It’s a difficult decision to make, as I don’t want to hurt any feelings in removing blogs from my blogroll, but I have to be aware there are only so many hours in a day, and there’s no point doing things out of a sense of duty if you no longer derive pleasure from the task.  What I’ll likely do instead is retain a list of all these blogs and make a once-a-month visit instead of trying to keep up-to-date with everyone together.

On that same theme, I’m also in the middle of rearranging my blogroll into folders – allocated as “daily”, then Monday to Sunday … we all have our favourite blogs (for whatever reason, be it that we’ve been reading them the longest, have made closer friendships with the blogger, or just that they’re so incredibly inspirational), so I thought of putting those top 10-15 blogs in my ‘daily’ folder … then I’ll divide the remaining blogs into days of the week, at least that way I can catch up on blogs once a week when I’m having a busy week, rather than having hundreds and hundreds to plough through – if I’m having a good week, I can read two days worth together.  I’ve been pondering this for quite a while now … and it’s harder and harder finding the time to keep on top of things as more new and wonderful blogs become known to me.  It also means I’m finding it more and more difficult to find time to comment on blogs, and that disappoints me because that’s the greatest part of blogging – giving and receiving support.

Anyway, I want to apologise in advance for anyone who gets removed from my blogroll when I start whittling it down – it’s certainly nothing personal, I just have to rationalise my online blogging time and try to make this enjoyable again.  Phew, that’s almost a relief saying it out loud and committing myself to actually doing something about it …

Actually, another thing I was thinking about the other day as well has just popped into my head … and while I’m on the theme of ‘blogs’ it’s probably a good time to bring up the question …

I use Newsgator for my blog reading, and just go into the blog itself when I want to make a comment.  A few of you have your blog settings to just show ‘partial’ feeds, so in my news reader I only get to see the first three lines of text, then I have to click on each post heading to read the full post … this really slows down proceedings as well, and I have to admit when I’m trying to catch up, I’ll leave those blogs until last because it’s so much slower to read – I was just wondering why some of you have your settings like that?  Anyway, that was just something that was running through my head … I have to admit I hadn’t even thought about my own settings, except I put my own blog into my feeds to see how it looks.

And I’ll leave it there for the day … there’s way too much thinking going on by this blog reader at the moment, and it’s hurting my brain 😉

Home & Family TO BE FIXED, SBQ

A couple of answers

I just realised I hadn’t answered Heather’s previous query/comment about Kangaroo loin … yes, I have to say Kangaroo loin is just that … kangaroo meat!! It’s incredibly low in fat, and just like steak, best served medium-rare, and personally I think it’s very scrummy … if you want to read more about it check out this article here (I just found it via Google, and it’s quite interesting, especially as it has some recipes that I just might have to check out – mmmm note to self, add to bookmarks to check out later!).

Next up is last week’s SBQ … I should almost wait for another day or so as I’m sure the next one will turn up just as soon as I post this, but here goes:

Today’s SBQ was suggested Cindy and is:

“Do you have a system for organizing freebie charts in your stash? If so, what is it? Do you print out copies of all of the freebies that you find on the web (that you think you might actually stitch) or do you maintain electronic copies of them until you are ready to stitch them?”

I used to print off everything I could lay my hands on (that I could see myself stitching ‘one day’), place them into plastic sleeves, then into ringbinders sorted by theme … as space has eventually become an issue (especially moving countries when freight was an issue as well), I’ve now started saving electronic copies instead and just printing a chart off when I actually want to stitch it.  I have them organised in electronic folders also in themes.

Cross Stitch, Round Robins, SBQ, Works in Progress

Quaker update & Bordeaux

I finally managed to get my stitching finished on part one today – I’m using 32ct Country French Linen in Chantilly, with DMC Variations 4030 … definitely a non-traditional Quaker colour 😉 I really enjoyed stitching this one, although it took longer to stitch than I expected, and I’m looking forward to receiving part two as part of this Round Robin 😀

This is my first ever Quaker piece, but I’ve got a few charts waiting in the wings to be stitched, so it definitely won’t be my last!  It’s lovely stitching this one with some of my closest online buddies 😀  (This photo is a lot brighter than it is in real life, but I can’t get a decent one at the moment.)

It’s also Bordeaux SAL time for the week with Carol and Leslie – I actually did my stitching two days ago, as it was still sitting on my floor stand and it was easiest to pick up and stitch without too much effort haha.  I’m still a couple of weeks away from finishing this band, but I could probably say I’m at the halfway mark now of the whole project, give or take a grape or two 😉  I’m really looking forward to the next band, as it looks like a nice easy one … although I hope it’s all Rhodes grapes not over-one ones, or I’ll be slitting my wrists LOL.  This week’s progress sees one new boxer and basket, and a 4-letter “F” word

Thanks for all the lovely words about my new Pyramid Etui thread choices – I’m about to start stitching this soon, so we’ll be able to see if my choices actually work together.  In answer to Terri’s question … I signed up for the class pretty much sight unseen – I put my hand up before knowing which projects were going to be taught, as I was so keen to attend a CA Wells class – then on seeing a photo in someone’s online album the colours didn’t look as pale as the actual threads that turned up … they were still pastels in the photo, but not quite as ‘bland’.  I absolutely ADORE the Etui design, though, and still very glad I signed up for the class … but I have to say I’m MUCH happier now I’ve changed the colours to be more “me”. 

Thanks also to Nicki, who’s sending me some leftover Summer Shadows silk thread to save me having to buy an entire new skein for the Etui … you’re a real sweetheart!

  I’m also aware I’m now very overdue with the SBQ’s so here goes trying to catch up …

7 Feb – Today’s SBQ was suggested by Danielle and is:

“Have you ever been to a stitching retreat?”

My answer would be yes, but only a very small one.  I attended a weekend retreat through the Counties Embroiderers Guild in Auckland when I was a relatively new member (and didn’t know anyone) – and we had the short class taught by Shelley Warner for her Cream button bag (which I only just completed recently).  Other than that I attended a Heart of Cross Stitch festival in Sacramento, CA many years ago … although that probably doesn’t class as a “retreat” in the true sense of the word.

14 Feb – Today’s SBQ is:

“Do you like to buy “chartpacks” that include charms, buttons, and/or beads or do you prefer to gather all materials yourself?”

This is a good question – and my answer depends on the chart itself.  On the whole I’d usually prefer to kit up my own threads, especially if there are pinks in it (yeah, I know, that’s an obsession of mine … for example, I adore the Au Fil de Reves Stitcher’s Bourse and accessories charts, but would replace the pink for a powder blue instead, so would prefer chart only for that).  In saying that, though, sometimes you only need a tiny piece of each thread, in which case I prefer to have them as a partial kit.  I don’t generally need Mill Hill beads, as I have loads in my stash, but if charms or bigger beads are needed I’d prefer to have those as part of the chartpack, as it’s sometimes a pain in the neck to find the right ones or a decent substitute, the same goes with any ribbons etc – the downside to chartpacks, though, is that they generally cost an arm and a leg compared to kitting it up yourself.

21 Feb – Today’s SBQ was suggested by Kathryn and is:

“What is the smallest count fabric you have ever used? Did you stitch over one? Conversely, what is the largest count fabric you have ever used?”

The smallest count I’ve stitched on so far is 36ct, which I’m using for the Bordeaux Sampler, and I’m really loving it.  I wouldn’t mind trying 40ct as well some time in the future, but don’t own any as yet.  On the 36ct for Bordeaux I’m stitching a fair amount over-one with the lettering and grapes … which is interesting.  I don’t know how Carol manages it on 40ct!!  As for the largest count I have to say it’s an 18ct fabric I used for Jenna’s hardanger lavender sachet, which was a big difference to other linens I’ve stitched on.  My favourite is generally 32ct, but now I’ve tried the smaller counts I’m starting to convert 😉

Cross Stitch, Rotation, SBQ, Stitch-alongs, Works in Progress

Bordeaux, Winter Queen and SBQ

Australia Day logo

To my fellow Aussies, Happy Australia Day to you all – thanks for letting me stay in your beautiful country and letting me call it my new adopted home 😀

Australian flag

Here’s my latest progress piccie of Bordeaux Sampler – I’m loving stitching on this more regularly each week, and normally have difficulty putting it down after my two-hour stint working on it.  Yesterday, though, it was a bit easier due to the fact my concentration wasn’t really up to par.  Unfortunately I won’t be reaching the halfway mark by the end of the month like I’d hoped, as I’d forgotten this band has more of that wonderful over-one lettering … mind you, that’s not as bad as those darned over-one single grapes floating around in the middle of the band … grumble grumble 😉  Please note I still haven’t frogged those golden leaves from the previous band, either … that’s a chore for one day when I’m more in the mood … at some stage before I finish band 7 😀 (Sorry, but this photo is quite dark, as the flash wouldn’t work!)

Bordeaux at 25Jan07

I’ve also finally managed to finish my 10 hours rotation slot on Winter Queen.  Here’s the “before and after” shot – I did my first 10 hours on this back in November 2005, and it hasn’t been touched since, which is shocking … it’s nice to see her come back out of the woodwork again.

 Winter Queen at 24Nov05

Winter Queen 26Jan07

I think the 10-hour rotation really works for me on the whole – I tried doing one project per night, and it just doesn’t work with my shifts, and I feel as if I’ve only just picked something up when I have to put it down again.  At least with 10 hours you can really see some progress at the end of it, and the 10 hours can be spread out over a weekend, or a full week, but you have time to get into a rhythm with the project.  I still give myself some flexibility with those 10 hours, and they’re not always 100% rigid at that mark – if I get close to the 10 hours and I’m still loving the project and don’t want to put it down, then I’ll keep doing an hour or so more before I move on to the next project.  Having my little ‘tub’ of WIPs next to my stitching area has also helped with that too, with everything ready to start again for the next rotation.

  Now, on to the SBQ’s that I’ve been seriously neglecting for the last 3 weeks:

“Do you dream of running your own LNS/ONS? If so, tell us about your dream. If not, tell us about your cross stitch dream … maybe you dream of designing, dyeing your own floss or fabric, etc.”

Nope, I can’t say I’ve ever had the desire of running my own LNS/ONS – working in one, perhaps, but not running it.  To be honest I figure running one would entail so much work that it would impact on my stitching time, and that’s more important to me.  I have to admit, though, that I was having a few ideas about designing my own needlerolls before Christmas, but if I ever do that I’ll offer it as a freebie online here instead of doing it ‘properly’ – but I’d love to learn how to dye my own fabric and floss one day, especially floss!  My main dream is to be able to give up work and still have an income and stitch to my heart’s content every day … hey, we can dream, can’t we? 😉

“Have you had a happy dance yet this year? If so, tell us about it! (Or just point to the entry that talks about it.) If not, when do you predict it will be?”

Yep, that was done on New Year’s Day … the post is here.

Today’s SBQ was suggested by Danielle and is:

“What company produces your favorite hand-dyed fabric? Are there any companies whose hand-dyed fabric you do not like? If so, why?”

I like Silkweaver fabrics, but the one I have for Egyptian Garden has quite a lot of fluff on it, and I’m forever having to pull off pils etc from it while I’m stitching, which is really frustrating.  The only other fabric I’ve tried is from Country Stitch, and I have to admit between the two I really love Linda’s fabric (Country Stitch) the most.  Her customer service is awesome, and she’s a sweetheart to deal with – it’s one of the few things I refused to give up during my penniless phase, my FOTM from Country Stitch.  Her fabrics have a lovely feel to them, and the colours aren’t blotchy but subtly blended … love them! 😀  Unfortunately I haven’t tried other products yet, so can’t compare.

And to finish, another quote I really like:

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

SBQ, Stitching Smalls

SBQ – Finishing Links

(Edited to add a few more links I tracked down, as the original pages had been moved…)

Today’s SBQ was suggested by Carol and is:

“Do you have any good internet links to tutorials for your favorite finishing techniques that you would like to share?”

Funnily enough, I’ve been thinking for a while now to have a page set up on my blog dedicated to my finishing links! Here goes my list of finishing links and tutorials – there are loads here that others have no doubt already listed, but there may be some other unknown ones (I thought I had some others too, but I can’t find them at the moment):

Different Techniques:


Needleroll instructions:



Scissor case:

Scissor fobs:



Fabric Book Covers:





Cording, Tassels, & Miscellaneous:

Gifts TO BE FIXED, RAK Registry, SBQ

SBQ & RAK photo

I didn’t want to lose Isabelle’s gorgeous RAK photo among all the other photos yesterday, so waited until today to give it it’s own wee place – finally here is my RAK in all its glory … complete with open box on the choccie haha. Thanks again Isabelle, it’s so so sweet of you {{hugs}}.

And for this week’s SBQ, here goes …

“How do you secure your thread when you begin a new one? Specifically,do you or have you ever used a waste knot?”

Yes, I use waste knots quite regularly when doing specialty stitches, as a lot of times there’s not much to anchor it on the back until you’ve worked a few stitches. Have to say I hate doing it, as it wastes thread and I hate having to cut off the knots and reweave the ends through at the end 😦 Unfortunately, though, it’s sometimes a necessary evil! If I’m using overdyed threads, and I have a solid line to stitch, I’ll put a small knot in the end of the thread, take the needle down into the fabric in the middle of the line, about an inch away from where I’m going to stitch, then back up at the beginning to start stitching – that way I’m stitching over the line and catching the ‘tail’ under my stitching as I go, and I cut the knot off at the back as I get closer and the tail is well anchored. If I’m using plain ol’ DMC I do a ‘loop start’ usually.

The RAK Registry is almost finished (just tidying up of the sidebars etc), and I’ve made a little ‘blinkie’ in my Links sidebar here which takes you straight to the RAK blog. Hopefully more people will join in and fill in those spaces in the alphabet, and this will be a good resource for the days to come. If you think you’d like to see someone’s details on there, either let them know about it, or drop me a line with their blog details and I’ll send them an email saying I’ve had a request to have them join in the fun 🙂 I’ve really enjoyed setting this up for us! 😀

PhotoHunt, SBQ

SBQ & PhotoHunt

I’m not really in the blogging mood of late – too much going on in my head, I think. I have a tendency to internally smother my emotions, especially with stress etc … and have been known to make myself physically ill due to it – apparently this has happened ever since I was a child. I’ve been trying to repress all the financial stress, and I’ve been managing OK, but it’s also put me a bit in ‘zombie mode’ because of it this last week. Yesterday, though, my car was looked at and nothing major is wrong, which is a huge relief. Now all I have to do is sit down today and pay all my month’s major bills (including Mr Tax Man hopefully), then I think I’ll settle down a bit emotionally again. I ended up working again last night due to a stuff-up in the roster, and they were desperate for someone to cover “my” shift (I’d taken the day off to go to Sydney), so I offered to help them out again and work. I hate the 6pm-2am shifts, and that probably hasn’t helped my mood over the last few days, as it really affects my sleep patterns. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll perk up in a couple of days time.

“Do you stitch Christmas ornaments? If so, how many do you stitch each year and for whom? If not, why not?”

Actually, it’s only been through blogging that I’ve learnt how beautiful home stitched ornies are – and I made my first ones just in the nick of time for last Christmas. This year it was my hope to make some for gifts, but I’m not doing too well hmmm (plus my financial situation is putting a damper on my plans too, and that’s probably part of the reason I haven’t stitched as many as I’d planned to yet). Perhaps next year I’ll be more organised! I did make and finish one for Mum this year, which will be an ongoing tradition for us now. I still don’t feel very confident at finishing them, so I need to make a few more to get more confident, I think.Now on to this week’s Photo Scavenger Hunt …


Today’s theme is “Plush” … this photo taken months ago fits the bill for me this week 🙂

An archival theme was “Cold” … I couldn’t choose between two photos, so here they both are – first J & V (my very best friend in NZ) learning how to snowboard, and second the snowy mountain ranges are compliments of the South Island of New Zealand, I just love that photo! 😀