Cross Stitch

Christmas Cross Stitch Ideas

Christmas Cross Stitch Ideas
Christmas Minis in Fox Collection catalogue

Continuing on the theme of my last three posts, albeit a little later than I had planned, I am now going to look at Christmas cross stitch ideas. I have recently received the latest “Fox Collection” catalogue (see “Are You On Track For Christmas?”) which had another full page of Christmas ideas in it.

I have included some photos I have taken of items in the two Christmas catalogues. I thought you might find some inspiration from some of them. In previous years I have stitched a few personalised cards for some close friends. There are some cute ideas in these photos along with a number of other projects.

Christmas Cross Stitch Ideas Christmas Cross Stitch IdeasSomething I noticed for the first time in last year’s catalogues was the wine bottle aprons. These are just a bit different and would make a nice personalised gift for a special friend or family member, especially if it was on a nice bottle of wine. There are several different themes in my catalogues, but you could choose any design of your own that was a suitable size.

Christmas minis as decorations are always a popular idea, along with Christmas sachet bags. Sachet bags can be used to contain fragrant material such as lavender or pot pourri, or edible treats like chocolates or lollies.

Christmas Cross Stitch IdeasOther cross stitch projects for Christmas include things like cushions, table runners, place mats, and tree skirts. These are all a bit bigger and probably not practical for the time frame left for this year. They would be good ideas to put on your “to do” list for next year though.

Happy stitching and best wishes for your holiday season preparations. I have included a list below of some of my affiliate sites if you would like to check them out for kitsets or more ideas.

 

Affiliate sites:

Leisure Arts, Craftsy, Annie’s, Knit Picks, LoveKnitting, Creative BugConnecting Threads

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Crochet

Toy Crochet Patterns For That Special Someone

Toy Crochet Patterns For That Special Someone
Image courtesy of Pixabay

The joy of crocheting often compels us to make all kinds of useful garments, place mats and tablecloths, in all manner of styles and in various colours. This fantastic use of yarn is however not used so much in the making of toys. There are a great deal of crochet patterns out there for a huge range of soft, cuddly bears and other outlandish characters.

Toy Crochet Patterns For That Special Someone
Image courtesy of Pixabay

If you’re on the look out for some fun toy crochet patterns, the internet provides lots to choose from. (Check out “Ravelry“.) Little teddy bears are often the preferred choice – coming in a bewildering array of styles – with or with hats and clothing; girls bears, boy bears. You can also find bears with specific occupations, so if you know someone who’s recently graduated from University, for example, you could crochet them a teddy in a graduation uniform! Police and firemen also all have lots of great crochet patterns to choose from.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even adapt one of your favourite soft toy crochet patterns to make it look like a member of your family! You should make sure it’s flattering though. Making a good likeness of someone you know is not always easy, even in the versatile medium of crochet, so it might be a good idea to create a prop that that person is normally associated with.

For example, if you’re partner is a plumber, then why not create a small plunger or spanner? If you’re not sure how to make such a prop and there are no crochet patterns detailing how to create such an item, you could perhaps visit a toy shop – those specializing in dolls house accessories are particularly good for little trinkets and props. Remember – the whole toy doesn’t need to be crocheted – so you’re not cheating if you use another material!

Often, when creating props using crochet, you’ll need to have some kind of solid interior to support the wool. This might be cardboard or plastic, but it certainly helps to create the shape of an object, as crochet itself can lack structural integrity.

Using one of the many crochet patterns out there you will be able to create any character you can think of. And if you can’t find one, why not try and adapt an existing pattern to your needs? It sometimes only takes a few changes to the face and clothing to make a likeness (a rough likeness admittedly) of someone you know.

For those with a great deal of experience this should prove to be no problem. But equally, it is important not to try something too demanding – so it’s worth checking through a few crochet patterns thoroughly, before you start.

Wherever you source your toy crochet patterns, there is a great deal of fun to be had in creating one of these fun items. A brief search on the internet reveals an exciting range of toys, for both children and adults. In these days of mass produced factory gifts, it is special indeed to receive a hand-crocheted toy from someone special. The time, energy and thought that goes into such a gift really tells someone how special they are.

Anna Stenning is an expert on crochet patterns having crocheted many a woollen item.
Cross Stitch

The Magic of Outlining

The Magic of Outlining

I am always fascinated by what I regard as the magic of outlining when it comes to cross stitch. I have recently finished a special project for a very special friend. We have been friends since just before starting high school. This year a group of us are turning sixty, so we have obviously been friends for a long time. For this reason I wanted to give her a personalised, handmade gift to celebrate her birthday.

When you finish the main stitching on a project, you usually end up with an attractive piece of work. I used my cross stitch software (see “Creating Cross Stitch Designs”) to design a simple birthday message. The alphabet I chose used colours that my friend likes and I complemented them by choosing some pale green Aida fabric to work on. I was really pleased with the effect.

This particular pattern really highlights the effect that back stitching can have when it is used to complete a cross stitch project. While the main body of each letter is worked in cross stitch, they all have connecting components done with back stitch. I took a series of photographs throughout this project to illustrate “the magic of outlining”.

The Magic of Outlining The Magic of Outlining

The photo on the left shows the components of the project once I had finished the cross stitching. It includes all my pencilled in modifications to the pattern I printed out. The one on the right was taken after the back stitching of the letters in the first row had been completed. As well as completing the form of the letters, the outlining really lifts the letters out of the background.

This lifting effect is also shown in the photo where the flowers start emerging from the purple “blobs”. The final one in the series shows the finished piece after it has been washed, dried and ironed.

I really enjoyed giving this present to my friend and she was excited to receive it. It meant a lot more to put the thought and time into designing and stitching this present than it would have to go to a shop and buy something off the shelf. It will have lasting significance for both of us.

Cross Stitch

Christmas Is Coming!

Christmas Is Coming!

I remember when Christmas goods appeared in the stores at the beginning of December. Now they seem to start appearing in early September.

I suppose I am really in an ambiguous position on this though. On the one hand it doesn’t seem right to have Christmas stock for sale in the shops this early in the year, but on the other hand it is necessary to start planning craft gifts, like cross stitch items, even earlier.

One problem I have with Christmas cross stitch kits and patterns is that I tend to buy them when they are on special, usually near the beginning of the year.  This seems like a good idea at the time, but they then get put away in a “safe place” so that I will know where they are when I want to use them.

I don’t know about you, but my “safe places” seem to have the annoying ability to change location all by themselves! I confidently go to where I am sure I put things away, only to find that everything else I thought was with those things is there, but the ones I want have somehow mysteriously disappeared. The good news is that I often locate something else I had previously been looking for whilst searching for the current missing item.

Personalised, handmade gifts and Christmas cards show an extra level of thoughtfulness and care because of the time you have spent making them. I have included a photo of a picture a friend of mine made me for Christmas 2003. This gift is even more special for me as this friend passed away several years later.

So let’s hunt out those Christmas cross stitch items from their “safe places” and get a few special little cards and gifts made for the special people in our lives.

Cross Stitch

The Wonderful World of Cross Stitch

The Wonderful World of Cross Stitch

I love counted cross stitch! That statement may sound a bit strong, but I really enjoy watching a picture emerge on a previously blank piece of material. There is such satisfaction in being able to see what you have achieved and in being creative as well.

Don’t get me wrong – there can be plenty of frustration as well! I doubt you will find a cross stitcher who hasn’t put at least one project to the side after finding they have made a mistake which can only be remedied by significant unpulling. For me though, the relaxation and satisfaction far outweigh the setbacks.

Cross stitch can be anything you want it to be. You can choose a simple motif to decorate an item of clothing, or make a personalised card, or you can immerse yourself in a large, complex picture. In between these two extremes lies a huge range of options. There is also an unlimited variety of themes to choose from. If there is a particular theme you are interested in, you can pretty much guarantee there are cross stitch patterns available on it.

The materials available today also cover an amazing range. From the finest even weave and Aida fabrics through to rug canvas or plastic, and from finest silk thread through to heavy yarns or even leather strips, the possibilities are really only limited by your imagination.

The growth of the internet has given people the ability to share patterns, tips and ideas online. It also provides access to a huge online market of materials, kits, patterns and accessories. There are now quite a number of computer programmes available as well which allow you to convert your own photos and pictures into cross stitch patterns for completely personalised projects.

As I said before, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Where will yours take you?