Cross Stitch

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

To avoid confusion ....

I decided to add a Christmas countdown to my website, so that this year I can get organised without a last minute mad panic - which happens every year without fail. As soon as Christmas is over I vow that I will not wait until 2 days before Christmas to buy my presents, that I will get all my preparations done weeks before get the picture.

I was shocked when I looked at the countdown - theres only 43 days to Christmas! Where has the year gone. I know it's a sign that I am getting older - the years go by so much quicker. Another sign is that Doctors look younger than me (when I was a student nurse this was never the case) So I am trying to muster up some Christmas spirit my excuse has always been that we design for the magazines about 6 month's ahead so I am thinking of summer and for me that means that Christmas was 6 months ago. I think you can see the confusion here.

I have started to add Christmas charts to my website (click here) here is a sneak peak of 'Sledging Snowman' the chart is available for £1.15 and would make a fun Christmas card.

I have also recently finished a compilation book along with a few other designers 'A Cross Stitcher's Countdown to Christmas' available from David & Charles which you can also pre-order from me.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Aren't they so...

cute :) Here are the recent additions to the family.

After a busy half term break, I have finally got the house all to myself once again. Time to get stuck in to some work. How can it be called work when it's so much fun......

I have been having Internet problems all week so have now bought a new router. Internet explorer still keeps re-starting so fingers crossed my second attempt at posting this blog this morning will succeed.

Thank you Sharon for my award, I haven't been able to send a proper reply and choosing nominations. It really did make my weekend receiving this.

Saturday, 25 October 2008


I have added Saturday's free chart (which is for rememberence day) to my 'Free Chart' page click here and also the new 'Challenge chart' to my Home Page - A dolphin click here both charts are FREE as I know everyone love's freebies you can print them off as many times as you wish. Don't forget to let your stitching friends know :)
I will be emailing last month's competition winners over the weekend. Have a good weekend everybody.

Hugs Joanne x

Shock Horror is that.....

baby Gerbils I can see in the cage. What a shock it was when my daughter went to feed her 2 'male' Gerbils this morning.....'mum, what's those tiny pink things?' I went rushing in thinking one had, had an accident (didn't occur to me they could be babies - after all we've had them about 3 months and they are 'definitely male' assured the pet shop owner).... so I'm off to search the Internet on 'how to raise baby Gerbils' and then it's straight to the vets to get the male 'done'. There's 6 and I'll get photo of them in a day or so - don't want to disturb them yet.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Stitching on paper

thought I'd share this with you all :) .....You can stitch on paper to make some really nice projects, just make the holes first with a needle or pricking tool. I use a ruler as it has a nice straight edge :) and make holes every few mm. Here I used handmade papers contrased with some sparkling glitter paper. The centre embellishments are ceramic buttons I spotted on a carboot - just shows you what treasures you can find. You could also use a sewing machine if you like. stick the paper down first and then you don't have to worry about keeping it lined up.

Or like this .......... Holes were made in the same way all around the edge. Bring the thread through the first hole and then say down the 11th one, as long as you keep the thread the same distance apart it does work out (sometimes you have to have a couple of goes to get the pattern you want. I used metallic thread (6 strands) to compliment the glitter paper for both cards.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

and another thing.....

Wow, I am really feeling creative today, must be all the chocs I ate earlier (good advice Chris - it does work ). To make your stitching extra special, tack a piece of sheer organza on to the fabric and then Cross Stitch through both layers. The result is amazing even on smaller motifs. Add a couple of beads or a button and Voila.

Tip for the day

I love to cover the front of plain boring aperture cards with patterned paper. It's easy to do just stick the paper to the front of the card using a glue stick or double-sided tape. Use scissors or a knife to cut the paper away from the aperture. If you cut the paper slightly bigger than the aperture you can then stick it on to the inside and get a nice straight edge. If the aperture is round, make lots of snips to get a nice curve.

Stamp on to fabric and highlight with a few stitches and beads. It's really easy and quick to do, just allow time for the ink to dry fully before stitching so that it doesn't smudge.

More Stamping on to fabric........................

A journey into self discovery.....

Having been so inspired by Chris and Sharon's blog, I woke up determined to make my blog more interesting................. haven't got far yet :) How is it I love reading other peoples stuff but get stuck when deciding what to write myself. I still haven't mastered sending Text messages on my mobile, so what hope do I have. Don't get me wrong I love gadgets I just don't understand all the abbreviated words, it's my age, so I'm told - well that could be true actually. Without giving too much away my next Birthday will be a milestone one (just wish it was 21 again).

Friday, 26 September 2008

Tip for the day

Evenweave -

If you would like to stitch on Evenweave for a change, choose 28ct which will give the exact finished size as 14 count Aida. Work the stitches over 2 linear and vertical threads of fabric. Start directly to the side of a vertical thread as opposed to a horizontal one. Use a hoop or frame to help get the stitches even and after a few stitches you will find that the stitches are not so difficult. It does take a little extra time to count the stitches compared with Aida but well worth the effort, realistic designs look almost like watercolours on canvas, the stitches stand out from the fabric so much more too.

Tip for the day

Here are some long overdue tips!

1. When stitching top borders you can turn the fabric upside down so that the border is facing you and the stitches will remain the same way. Don't however turn the side borders to face you as the stitches will end up the wrong way. This helps when stitching larger designs!

2.I find wooden hoops nearly always mark my fabric, you can now get plastic ones in most sizes which don't. For small card size designs I always work without a hoop as it's easier to hold the fabric and still get even tensioned stitches.

3. To avoid eye strain now the nights are getting darker earlier sit near a good light source. I have put a daylight bulb in my desk lamp which is great because with normal bulbs the colour may appear different. A couple of times in the past I have discovered the next after a nights stitching, whole areas have been stitching the wrong shade! Which also makes a good case for using a thread sorted and labeling it correctly!

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Tip for the day

An alternative to making knots or weaving the thread through the first few stitches when starting to stitch is the 'loop method' which involves cutting the stranded cotton twice it's usual length of around 12 - 18 inches to about 25 inches. Take one of the strands and fold it in half. Thread the two ends through the needle which leaves a loop at the bottom. Bring the needle up through the fabric and then back down to form the first diagonal of the cross stitch. Once the needle has passed back down, take it through the loop and this will then secure the thread. Continue with the stitch to complete the first cross stitch -the result is neat stitching on the back of the fabric without any knots or loose tails of thread. This method is also great for metallic thread as it helps anchor the thread and achieve a more even tension, which can be difficult because of the nature of this type of thread.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Tip for the day

Like the stereotypical Cross Stitcher I love gardening and cats (I like all animals really- especially dolphins). So yesterday I took the day off and went to 'Gardener's World' at the N.E.C. It was a great day out and very inspiring. Today however it's back to work and the deadline for my book is today, so with lots of last minute stuff to do (well officially it's still today until midnight) and quite possibly working until the early hours again. So here is an ever so quick tip....
I never use a hoop when stitching small motifs and cards. If you have problems getting you stitches to have an even tension, spray laundry starch on to the back of the fabric before stitching and iron to activate, it will stiffen the fabric further. It doesn't matter if there is a powder residue from the starch, you can always wash the fabric after finishing, I don't find it's really necessary. Once you press the fabric after stitching you will find that the left on starch will make the fabric nice and crisp again.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Tip for the day

To remove stubborn creases in fabric caused by the fabric being folded and packaged, sometimes ironing alone isn't enough. Gently hand wash the finished stitching, then place on a folded thick towel and then with a cool iron, iron until dry. Ironing on the back of the fabric will make the stitches raised, and you might be surprised at the results.
Avoid using detergents with lemon scent or fragrance as these will discolour some threads (especially metallic ones).

Tip for the day

To help prevent knots appearing in the thread as you are stitching, let the needle dangle down (whilst still threaded). The needle will spin and untangle, pick up the needle and continue stitching. The amount of times you have to do this will vary from person to person, you will soon learn to judge when to do this by looking at the threads themselves. If knots do occur see the previous blog on how to remove them.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Tip for the day

Sometimes knots can form in the thread when stitching. To remove the knot simply place the needle into the loop formed and pull upwards (you do not need to un-thread the needle to do this). This loosens the knot then remove the needle from the loop and pull upwards and the loop will disappear.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Tip for the day

When using stranded cotton, pull the thread from the skein at the end where the thread number is. If it has a 'tab' on the other label at the other end of the skein (as D.M.C does) pull this tab off but leave the label on. The thread will easily unravel whilst staying neatly on the skein.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Re-occurring Dream

I have a re-occurring dream, where I am in a massive shop full of craft goodies, and I am doing a supermarket sweep (it's a big trolley) I wake up so happy, until I realise it's just been a dream.
I am fortunate to have freebies sent to me from time to time (but not that fortunate).
Here is a pic of my latest bag of goodies......yes I do have all that stitching to do :( and the pile is abut 8 inches high!!!!! Thanks Cara.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

3 wishes

While making my layout, I saw the 'wish list', I immediately thought of all the wonderful craft items I would love. 'If you had 3 wishes what would you ask for?' I asked Jeremy, he thought for a moment and replied 'I would have your hearing restored' (I had become deaf due to an illness several years ago now), how sweet I thought (well he is sweet really) 'What would you ask for?' he asked. I thought for a second 'mm.... can I ask for more wishes?', 'no not allowed' he said
1) That everyone would love each other at least half as much as they love themselves, then there wouldn't be any crime.
2) That all the illness/disease in the world could be cured and due to this and number one I think all the worlds problems would be solved.
Not wanting to sound like a contestant on Miss World, I deliberately didn't ask for world peace, note.
'Would you ask for anything for yourself?' he asked. I thought about all the lovely craft things I wanted, and a nice big room to put them in.
'o.k can I win the lottery and buy a big house for all my craft stash and spend all my time shopping for new ones'
Well I had solved the world's problems with the other two wishes. So if there are any genies out there.....

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

My New Website

Having never made a blog before and not sure if this will work ??!!!! fingers crossed. Everyone has been asking me 'when are you going to make a website?' So after taking the plunge (and never doing anything like this before) here it is, although I still have stuff to add, but there are a couple of freebie cross stitch charts and more to come.