Crochet, Karen's Korner, Knitting

My Yarn Shop Detour

My Yarn Shop DetourI made my “Yarn Shop Detour” last month. My husband and I drove from our home in Tawa (near Wellington) to his work conference in Hamilton. He kindly agreed to detour through Napier so that I could visit a yarn shop I really wanted to see. For those of you who don’t know New Zealand, that meant an extra 1½ hours driving time, with an overall extension of about 4 hours to the total trip time.

I don’t regret one minute of it, however, and my husband didn’t seem to mind the extended trip either. He was actually quite interested in the shop and its story as well. The shop I’m referring to is called “Skeinz”. It is quite a small shop, but I now regard it as something of a New Zealand yarn treasure. Please check out their website (Skeinz, The Natural Yarn Store) to find out more about them, their yarns, and Design Spun Ltd – it is well worth it.

I have been aware of Skeinz for nearly a year now, and have looked at their yarns online. I have also joined their Facebook page, Skeinz – Speak Easy. The descriptions of their yarns online are very tempting, but I really like to “meet yarn in person” before I commit to buying it. I have to say that I was blown away by the quality of the yarn I found there. They don’t have a huge range, but what they have is absolutely beautiful, both in texture and colour.

My Yarn Shop Detour My Yarn Shop DetourOne of the advantages of visiting the shop was the opportunity to pick up a couple of really good bargains that I wouldn’t have been able to get online. They are both wonderfully soft 4ply merino wool. One was the last ball of a lovely mottled grey shade of Orb Fine. The other was a 475g bag of “Threadwaste” in a rich red colour. Threadwaste is yarn that is cut off the machine when it tangles during the balling process. It has taken many hours, but I have nearly finished untangling and winding my yarn, and it has been well worth it. I will have the equivalent of 9½ 50g balls of luxurious 4ply merino wool.

My Yarn Shop DetourI thoroughly recommend that you check out Skeinz online or, if you are lucky enough to be in Napier, call in to see them.

Cross Stitch

Counted Cross Stitch Patterns, A Basis For Stitching Bliss

Counted Cross Stitch Patterns, A Basis For Stitching BlissAnyone who loves to cross stitch knows they need the counted cross stitch patterns if they hope to enjoy their favorite past time. There are a variety of patterns available online, as well as countless companies that produce cross stitch kits. Depending upon what type of themes you like to complete, counted cross stitch patterns abound.

Perhaps you’re just starting down the road to cross stitching bliss. It is helpful to know there are two basic types of cross stitch patterns – counted cross stitch and pre-printed or stamped cross stitch. Both types of patterns have benefits.

Personally I only tackled one stamped cross stitch project before I wanted something more challenging. My tablecloth had blue crosses printed on the fabric and a guide that showed me which color to use for each cross. Other printed cross stitch projects are worked on Aida and have some background areas printed in full color leaving other sections to be stitched.

When trying to develop your stitching skills, counted cross stitch patterns would be a good option to look into. They create more of a challenge than the stamped cross stitch items will. Of course, there is a greater margin for error with these patterns. Mistakes become evident usually after you’ve done several stitches and things don’t line up the way they should. Locating these errors, and then fixing them is often times a stressful problem. However, as frustrating as re-stitching an area may be, it’s a great learning experience. You’ll be able to create a system of checks-and-balances for yourself to avoid a lot of the easier mistakes made in your earlier pieces.

Counted cross stitch patterns do not, however, have to be stitched according to the designers original idea. You may like to change the colors or use areas from various designs in a different project such as a sampler.

Finding just the right cross stitch pattern can also be frustrating; however it doesn’t have to be. Take the opportunity to stop by your local craft store or discount store. Begin by looking to see what kits they have available.

If you don’t find what you like, check out what’s available on the internet. You may be able to find just what you’re looking for. Start by searching for a favorite artist such as Claude Monet or Vince Van Gogh; or, if you prefer modern artists like Thomas Kinkade. Cross stitch patterns are available by these artists and many more.

Entering the magnificent world of cross stitch can be very exciting. Don’t get overwhelmed by the variety and amount of patterns you’ll find online. First, take time to decide what type of pattern you would like to stitch. Then simply do a general Internet search for counted cross stitch patterns pertaining to the subject you chose. You’ll be glad you took this first step!

Julia Wigham is a professional writer and co-founder of Patterns Patch cross stitch forums. An online cross stitch community whose subscribers get free: patterns, articles and tutorials. Visit our lively cross stitch blogs today!

Related Cross Stitch Articles