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.

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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!


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!


STUFFIE

A few weeks ago I posted about the need to be spontaneous, while still being a productive crafter who accomplishes goals. Last week, I was able to squeeze in a small spontaneous project. I am so glad that I did!

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Since being a threadhead does not pay the bills, I spend my days with a variety of young children. My time is filled with afternoons in the sunshine, lots of jokes that don’t make sense and there’s a high volume of adorable drawings, which are always inspiring.

After seeing one of my kiddo’s pictures of a unicorn. I knew that I could make her the perfect birthday present in just a few days.

Here’s the original drawing:
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Clearly this creature’s “party hat” is it’s unicorn’s horn.

My original plan involved hand embroidering the entire creature, however that proved to be a large task and I wanted to complete this project quickly. So, I chose to use fabric markers from my local art supply store.

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I was slightly disappointed because the colouring did not reflect the child’s original drawing precisely. I wish that I had experimented more with this new medium before I started the project. But, I was hurrying to get it done, and I’m looking forward to exploring fabric markers more in the future.

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Not wanting to dismiss my love of hand-stitching completely, I embroidered the pattern from the horn on the little creature’s head.

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This little fellow was made on a recycled dress shirt, a scrap from the one that I used to back Sarah’s pillow last year. The stuffing that I used was also scraps. I cut up a remnant of a t-shirt used in my rag-rug and and filled it up.

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It’s a strange feeling seeing something you’ve made in someone else’s home. But, I’ll totally adjust. When the little lady opened her gift she said, “Why would you think I might not like it? I LOVE it.”


WIP – BADGE #4

You wanna know what my biggest complaint about being a dedicated threadhead is? My time is so organized with projects, I am losing the ability to be spontaneous. While these past few days I have appreciated my own dedicated to reach creative goals, I’ve also realized how bored I am. It’s a teetering balance.

IMG_1847 This weekend I took “time off” to play around, and I think I may be making another badge.IMG_1854

We’ll see if it will ever get finished with the piles of aida cloth already stacked up.

What kind of projects do you take on when you’re feeling bored? Have you made any pieces to shake up you’re regular stitching routine? I’d love to see them!


REDO

I’ve got that Spring itch.

Maybe it’s all the sunshine we’ve been having. Maybe it’s the fact that my closest friends are once again all within the cities boundaries. Maybe it is because I finally replaced my bicycle and flying down city streets has lifted my spirits. Whatever it is, I cannot sit still.

Due to this irregular impatience, I spent sometime last week taking apart and recrafting the t-shirt rug that’s been progressing over time. As it was, the rag rug had several issues.

Most important was that the rug had several spots which were bumpy and wouldn’t lay flat, this is because it was worked in a circular pattern. Generally, I am okay with accepting little mistakes which come along with handmade goods, however, these bunches proved to be quite a problem whenever my goddaughter was around. She’ll be two in May, and her shimmy step that has her gliding around my apartment made the rug a tripping hazard.

As well, I’ve put in a lot of hours collecting, cutting and repurposing old t-shirts into this rug. I want it to be something that I carry with me from home to home. If this rug is going to have a long lifespan, I have to be happy with the final outcome.

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It took me almost two weeks to pull apart and re-make this rug, but I’m really happy with it’s current state of being. The rug’s new measurements are 38″ by 72″, making it large enough for me to lay on.

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I plan on continuing this project as I collect more t-shirts. I plan on hitting many yard sales this summer in order to keep costs low. It’s also a great feeling knowing that I am keeping textiles out of the landfill. I’ve been using the ends of the salvaged t-shirts as pillow stuffing, but that’s another post!

Have a happy Earth Day! Are you working on any projects that involve recycled consumables? Any particularly “green” pieces in your portfolio?


STAY GOLDEN

I’ve been meaning to post about this piece for ages, but it has taken several weeks for me to acquire the images that I needed. Note to self: Remember to photograph finished works prior to wrapping them as presents!

When I consider my life in Toronto and how it has unfolded over the past seven years here, I can never forget how lucky I am that four of my closest friends from my hometown live in this city with me. It provides immeasurable comfort knowing that I have a handful of people “on my side” no matter what the battle may be.

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One of these key characters is Christopher Clarry, you may remember his work from an inspiration post I did last year after he launched his YouTube channel.

Chris and I share many a guilty pleasure. But once of the most precious to me is our shared love of the Golden Girls. Blanche, Rose, Dorothy & Sophia have the best perspectives on life and all frequently a remedy for gray days or blue nights.

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In order to celebrate Chris’ most recent birthday I stitched him this little text-based piece. If you’re interested in making your own version for a golden pal, check out the free pattern available here.