she's a threadhead

FOR HOLDEN

Oh my. What a whirlwind of a time I’ve been having! After working my tail off for a company for the past few months, this weekend I was unceremoniously let go. It’s rather heartbreaking – I loved working there, loved the staff. But, the management made their choices and because I’ve been working as a “casual employee” I have no rights. It’s a total bummer. But, luckily, I’ve been able to console myself with my embroidery.

And LUCKILY LUCKILY, this city is filled with beautiful people, who love handmade things. One of whom, commissioned a birth chart similar to the one that I made my goddaughter.

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This birth chart was made using both cross stitch and back stitches, taken legally from a variety of online resources. IMG_2311

The canvas used was 18 count Aida in Navy, purchased from Maria at Stitch-It Central. The thread used was DMC Ecru purchased in-store from EweKnit in Toronto, Ontario.

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Similar to the previous birth chart I’ve made, the information include the child’s name, birth date, height and weight at the time of birth. As well, I included the weekday rhyme from A. E. Bray’s Traditions of Devonshire and the star sign, month’s flower and stone as well as the designation in the Chinese Zodiac.

IMG_2307The creatures included in this birth chart are little owls perched on a branch, sparrows swooping down in flight and busy little hummingbirds. I thoroughly enjoyed stitching the sparrows and hummingbirds, although I found the owls quite taxing and the visual effect was not as pleasing as I hoped. I doubt I will reuse the motif in the future.

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Similar to the previous birth chart I made, this piece was hand sewn over two dowels. This method is very effective for larger wall hangings.

Please let me know what you think – particularly about the owls! The customer was more than pleased, but he doesn’t know needlework like you folks do! 

If you’re interested in commissioning your own birth chart, send me a message using the “Contact” page. My rate for the custom design & execution of these birth charts is very reasonable! 

OK – I’m back to filling out job applications, joy.


WIP – SUNSET

The last time I posted about this project, it was still in it’s infancy. I had a lot of fun reading folks’ guesses as to what it could be. Some people thought it could be a full moon – just in time for Hallowe’en, someone guessed it could be a minion and even a wheel of cheese! Followers of my Instagram figured it out pretty quick though, it is certainly a sunset.

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This project was worked on 18 count Aida cloth in Navy, purchased from Stitch-It Central. The canvas has been swell to work with, although next time I may choose a lighter shade as stitching dark-on-dark is very tiring on the eyes.

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The DMC colours used in this project were #791 (Cornflower Blue dark), #743 (Yellow medium), #742 (Tangerine light), #741 (Tangerine medium), #740 (Tangerine), #761 (Salmon light) and #793 (Cornflower Blue medium.) The threads were purchased from my LYS Eweknit, in Toronto, Ontario.

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I had the most fun stitching the “sunset” portion of this piece. The gradient involved four shades of orangey-yellow. I wasn’t quite certain how this would turn out, as I made the pattern using MacStitch, and had no real-life samples of the threads to be sure. How do you think it turned out?

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I know this image comes off as rather bland. Don’t worry though, this isn’t the project’s final form – I have a bit more tinkering to do.


FOR MAX

Do you remember that little lion I embroidered last winter? You probably don’t. He was based off a sheet that I got in a box of patterns, which I purchased at a yard sale for a loonie.

I made him because I had been sitting in a funk. A funk that originated from being overwhelmed by the big project. At that point in time I had been avoiding stitching all together. I needed something small that would remind me of how much I loved this craft. And he did a great job!

Although, when the piece was finished I had no plans for it. So, our little lion was tucked away in the craft caddy and was never seen again.

BUT THEN, this summer, I was looking after a little fellow who was celebrating his first birthday. I wanted to give him something handmade but did not have time to hand make something… until I was struck by a bolt of lightning.

Within a single stitching session I added the little guy’s name to the piece, as well as his birth date. It’s not as fancy as the birth chart that I made Lumyhna, but is just as fitting because this kid’s room is animal themed.

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Needless to say his Momma loved it! It’s currently hanging on the bedroom wall. I hope when this little lion man grows up, he knows how much I delighted in spending time with him.
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I am glad this project worked out, and that this lion got a home. This experience has taught me not to disregard any of the pieces I am working on, even if I don’t have a plan for them while I stitch away. Loving homes will always be found.

Have you made a baby gift recently? I feel like children are 90% of the people I stitch for. Have you ever added details to a piece after it was finished? Do you worry that it might be a lousy thing to do?  Let me know!


UPDATE

It’s been an absurdly long time since I have shared progress on my stupidly large project. The piece involves 162, 500 stitches in over 50 colours. In order to not be burned out (and have this blahg be certifiably boring) I’m embracing the fact that this project will be with me for a long time.

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It may not look like much, because it certainly does not feel like much. With all the white empty space looming beside my individual stitches, it is quite easy to be intimidated. I’ve been beating that monster down by attempting to dedicate an hour of stitching time a day to this specific piece. It’s not going so well, I’ve clocked 17 hours on it since September 1st. But, tracking my hours has forced me to be more conscious of my creative endeavours.

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I must admit I do love taking pictures of this piece because it lets me truly see the image emerge.

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And in comparison to the photo from the last time I posted, it looks like I’ve made a huge dent. And my photography skillz have improved too!

How are your big projects coming along? Any tricks for keepin’ the flames burnin’ over the long haul?


STREET SIGN

As most fans of douglust know, I moved this summer. It was a big transition. I’d lived in that house for two years, and I believe that my creative soul flourished with all that space and such interesting people. After moving, I was feeling sentimental. Toronto has been my home for nearly seven years and in that time I’ve lived in 4 houses and with almost 50 people. I need to a way to commemorate this time and those houses as I continue to wander through life.


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I designed this project in response to that need. Toronto’s iconic street signs have always cheered me up. They’re unusually shaped, and vary in colour throughout the neighborhoods.

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The first version that I did of this project was with DMC 310 on 14 count Aida fabric. In the process of stitching I loved how it came together, fulfilling my sentimental needs. When the project was finished I wasn’t too sure what to do with it. I resulted to gluing it to a piece of cardstock, which ended poorly. I really don’t like how the fabric warps as it folds around the rectangle shape.

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The second version of this project I completed using DMC 310 again, however this time it was on 10 count plastic canvas. I adore how this turned out. Being able to cut away the excess plastic makes the street sign even cuter!

I have high-apple-pie hopes of whipping up a few more of these bad boys for my old roomies, but, alas the plastic canvas is slightly difficult to work with (it only fits smaller needles, which are a lot more pokey) and the progress is slow.
If any fans of the Big Smoke want to make their own version, the pattern is now up for grabs in my new Etsy shop. Which will be in development over the next few months! No, I’m not a huge fan of Etsy, but with the amount of time I dedicate to designing and creating patterns, I feel it’s justified to have a space to attempt to sell them. If only to keep folks from copying my work.

Have you made a project to commemorate a home? Share it with me!


STITCH-IT CENTRAL REVIEW

Thanks for all of the hilarious responses to my work-in-progress post. I’ve been cracking up every time I get notifications on my phone. Keep ’em coming! I’ll share the project again soon.

So, that I could start that beautifully blobby project, I had to first ORDER THE MATERIALS. That’s right folks, with the completion of Lumyhna’s birth chart – I have officially used up all of my stash. I feel like balloons should pop up whenever I say that. From here on out, I’m going to be buying canvases specifically for each project. This means that I spend a lot of time waiting around for things to arrive, but it also means I can review more companies! Hurray!

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Today I’m going to be reviewing the services of Stitch-It Central, a Canadian store that ships worldwide. I had the chance to talk to both Maria on the phone, and she seemed perfectly lovely. There were some minor issues – they did not have one of the products I wanted AND my credit card took a few tries to be processed. I also had to wait a bit longer than I expected – 13 days – but, there was a long weekend in the middle of that time.

When my order did come, these were the two lovely fabrics which arrived. The previously seen 18 count Aida in Navy and a beautiful 25 count Lugana in Wedgwood.
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I have a lot of good things I had to say about this shopping experience. The selection Stitch-It Central has is huge, I have not had enough time to fully explore their website. The store is Canadian, which I like because I like supporting Canadian business and it means their prices are lower than US companies, plus the shipping is cheaper because you don’t have to deal with that pesky border issue. They also offer an email list which you can sign up for and they’ll send you coupons, you get $5 off just for signing up!

Maple-syrup-toonie-lovers should certainly consider ordering from Stitch-It Central. Our Eagle-loving-pals to the South might want to check it out as well! With the Loonie being so low right now, there might be extra savings!

Note: I did not use this opportunity to order floss from Stitch-It Central, because a neighborhood shop has recently started carrying DMC floss. More on that later.

Have you ordered from Stitch-It Central? What are your thoughts? Any other websites I should check out? I’ve already reviewed DeSerres & 123Stitch.com.

Enjoy your weekend!


WIP – BLOBS

Although I have a stack of finishes, or almost-nearly-entirely-completely-finished finishes on my craft caddy, I thought it might get a bit boring if I only shared the projects that I completed whilst I was on hiatus.

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This is one of the current canvases that I have hooped up. It is a custom commission for a friend and I’m pretty excited about it. So far I’ve used DMC #791 and #743 on 18 count Navy Aida. halfstitch asked recently, “which method of cross stitch do you use? The blob method or the parking method?” I answered with “Both.” Depending on the pattern for piece, one method always seems to work better. In this case, it’s the blob method. Look at those very unblobby, blobs!

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Last time I posted a work-in-progress, someone on the cross stitch subreddit was annoyed because I wouldn’t say what it was supposed to be. Well, poo-poo on that. I like surprises.

Can you guess what these blobs will emerge as? Internet high fives to whoever gets it right.

Bonus points for most interesting answer!