Cross-stitching is something I picked up many years ago when I was having some health issues and forced to rest for periods of time. If you know me, I hate sitting around watching TV and I love to keep my mind/body busy so when I heard I would have to rest for a couple of hours every afternoon I decided to spend my time doing something that I could measure the progress on. I love the feeling of accomplishment with working on a project, pulling back and seeing just how far I have gotten while I was focusing on a small area. My first few projects were small but then I discovered the Heaven and Earth Designs website and fell in love with their massive projects that did not include any of the dreaded backstitch. I quickly downloaded a free pattern, bought my 90 colors of thread and started in on it. I did not make it very far on that first pattern but I did work on my technique and I am reusing the thread for other projects. I may finish it eventually but for now I am focusing on all of my other projects that have been started since then.
One of my favorite HAED (Heaven and Earth Designs) artists is Randal Spangler. I have several patterns and officially have two in the works. The first and biggest one I started was Computer Wizard several years ago. I posted my progress in my last stitching post update and honestly I haven’t worked on it since then but at some point I hope to finish it. My current WIP (work in progress) is QS Literate Dragon which I started in 2015. I picked it up again this year and I have been making slow progress. This one is a Quick Stitch (QS) so it is much smaller than other projects. I think I was hoping to finish it in a calendar year but that clearly didn’t pan out. My goal is to make significant progress this year. I was aiming to finish the first page this month while I was on leave. I am about half way done with it and my leave should be ending next week so I don’t think I will make that cut off. I need to use the magnifying light to work on this one since the stiches are so small and I can’t work on it for more than an hour at a time before my eyes get tired. I will keep posting progress on my Instagram page (oscoeyzamph) and with further stitching updates.
Protip: write your start date on the back of the first page of your HAED so you can track how long it takes to complete.
Another project I have been trying to finish this year is my Alphabet Block project I started for my soon to be eight year old’s birth. That’s right, I started this when I was pregnant with her and although I have made significant progress in the last year I am not finished with it yet. I might start working on this again soon but I am in a groove with the Literate Dragon piece and I don’t want to stop and lose my mojo. This one is a kit from Dimensions and honestly I am not a fan of kits. They don’t usually provide you with enough thread or fabric and it is not as high of quality as the DMC you by in a store. This kit is ok and I am hoping to have enough but I have been burned in the past. This project also requires a bunch of backstitching and even if I finish all of the regular crosses it will take be forever to finish the backstitch. Once I finish this one I will probably have to start another one for my son and hopefully he will want something much simpler to stitch.
Another project I have been working hard on is this Kitty in a Flower Pot freebie from a cross-stitch magazine. My daughter picked this one out of several freebies I have and I am almost finished with it. I just have a little bit of backstitch to do around the pot and add French knot eyes for the bird and the cat and I will be done. Maybe I will get this one done this month. I loathe backstitch (I really do) and I don’t have much motivation to finish it but honestly I just need to finish it. If I do finish it I will put together the card kit it came with and mail it to my daughter as a surprise. She has been watching my progress and she loves mail so it will be a fun surprise for her to have. I may also make her a bookmark for her birthday but I am not sure how I will hide that from her so I have to think about that. She is very observant and it is tricky to hide much from her.
Speaking of freebie patterns, I have quite a few of them that I need to work through. The ones pictured above are not all of them even. I know I have more in my large bin of cross-stitch items stashed in my closet. I didn’t dig through that for the picture but these six are more than enough to work on this year. The fox and hedgehog ones look more complicated than I like to complete so I may just give them away but the others look fun. One of the hard parts of starting a hobby is accumulating more projects/components than you can ever use. I haven’t bought any supplies for cross-stitching in many years besides replacing my lost seam ripper last week and I probably could get away with just completing what I have for the next decade aside from filling in a few thread colors as I run out. I unfortunately discovered when I got my new laptop last May that I lost most of the HAED patterns I downloaded over the years at some point during one of the many old laptop repairs. I do have a couple that I printed out but I may need to replace the others if I have time to stitch them. Lesson learned though. Save your files to the cloud and print a copy of your patterns for backup just in case.
One of the charts that I have been very excited for and fortunately printed out was Amulet and Emmeline by Lesley Anne Ivory. I love the quilt pattern and it looks fun to stitch. One of my favorite parts of working on HAED is seeing a wall of symbols in the pattern, working on it for a while and then when you step back the design pops out at you and looks amazing. If you have ever worked on an HAED you may know what I am talking about. There are so many colors with these patterns and they are so spread out that you can be working for hours on one stich here and there all over the page and it seems like a jumbled mess until suddenly everything falls into place and you can clearly see an eye or a significant part of the pattern. This quilt piece seems like one where that magic will happen quite a few times and I am excited to start it. I have bought thread for it although it has been so long I forget if I bought all of it and I need to start kitting it up. I am hoping to start this one after I finish the Literate Dragon piece. I want to finish my WIP and start getting them framed on the wall. Maybe, if I focus and spend a few nights a week on the Literate Dragon, I will be able to finish it by the end of 2021 and have a clean start for 2022.
The last piece I thought I would show progress on is my Cat Butt one that I started a while ago for Mother’s Day. I have made progress on it since my last update but clearly I haven’t finished it. I really need to finish this one and my work on it again after I finish my Kitty in a Pot project and wrap it up for my mom for Christmas along with her other present. This pattern is from Etsy and is by Freudian Stitch who is one of my favorite pattern makers. I love browsing Etsy for patterns. They are usually simpler than HAED and don’t have the dreaded backstitch. I also love supporting artists that are making a living from their craft! One thing to be careful of is copy cats though. Pattern makers have an issue with people copying their patterns and selling them as their own. It is a huge issue for most crafters and one way we can help prevent it is to never post pictures of patterns.
I am excited to keep working on my projects. See links below for where to find the ones I am working on and a bonus project at the bottom that I feel like embodies the heart of the FI movement. The debt quote from hardcorestitchcorps was one of the very first cross-stitch patterns I completed and I love it!
Who are your favorite artists and what are you working on right now?